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IoT in Action: New innovations making IoT faster and simpler

As the Internet of Things (IoT) disrupts global business across every industry, opportunities abound.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) disrupts global business across every industry, opportunities abound. Partners are building on Microsoft IoT innovations and expanding solution accelerators, while customers of every size are reaping the rewards through increased productivity and efficiency, new revenue streams, and broader market share.

Read on to discover how Microsoft and our partners are making IoT faster, easier, and more cost effective through innovations in Windows IoT, Azure IoT, and Azure Sphere. For greater depth and inspiration, as well as some fantastic networking opportunities, be sure to attend the IoT in Action global event in Nuremberg on February 25, 2019.

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New innovations in Azure IoT

Greater compatibility and flexibility

Azure IoT is evolving to make it more compatible with a growing list of technologies, offering far greater choice and flexibility. In 2018, Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure IoT Edge. And as of February, Azure IoT Edge is now able to run on virtual machines (VM) using a supported operating system. Also announced in February: Azure IoT Hub Java SDK will now support the Android Things platform.

Further integration with artificial intelligence and machine learning

Microsoft partners and customers are driving remarkable innovation through integration of Azure IoT with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Azure IoT enables customers to build AI-based experiences in a range of applications from cloud to edge. Azure AI Services incorporates machine learning to enable deeper control and customization.

Azure Stream Analytics, now available on IoT Edge, uses machine learning for anomaly detection and substantially reduces the costs and effort required for building and training machine learning models.

Examples of innovations using these technologies range from BMW Group’s upcoming in-car Intelligent Personal Assistant to products like the QuickSet Cloud platform that powers millions of connected devices in homes through customers including Comcast, Sony, LGI, Samsung and others.

The latest in Windows IoT

Long-term support

Windows IoT offers powerful edge-computing capabilities, integrates easily with Azure, and is ideally suited for those who are already familiar with Windows. One of the biggest enhancements to Windows IoT comes in the form of support: Microsoft is now offering long-term, comprehensive support—including silicon and security updates—that provides an extra level of confidence for customers.

Azure Device Agent 2.0

From an innovation standpoint, efficiency, security, simplicity, and repeatability are some key focus areas. Recently released for public preview is Azure Device Agent 2.0 which ticks these boxes, providing everything needed to connect a solution to Azure easily, including manageability and device provisioning. Plug and play (PnP) functionality will be coming soon.


Microsoft is investing heavily in cloud connectivity and helping to accelerate customers’ journeys to the cloud and the intelligent edge. For machine learning on the edge, Microsoft has released WinML. This set of APIs allows developers to use pre-trained machine learning models for intelligent edge devices, allowing AI compute tasks to be done locally. Benefits include improved performance, reduced bandwidth demands and cloud compute costs, and real-time results delivery.

Innovative IoT security solution: Azure Sphere

Recently shortlisted as a finalist for the Embedded World awards, Azure Sphere offers watertight security for connected microcontroller (MCU) devices at the intelligent edge. Azure Sphere includes three pivotal components that work together to lock down device security. The Azure Sphere MCU provides real-time application processes with Microsoft’s secure silicon architecture. The built-in Azure Sphere OS offers multiple layers of security. And the turnkey security service affords device-to-device and device-to-cloud security, detecting threats, and ensures certificate-based authentication.

Seeed Studio, a partner specializing in hardware developing, prototyping, and manufacturing, offers an Azure Sphere Development Kit that matches the design of the Microsoft reporting database (RDB). They also created a hardware ecosystem with access to over 100 Grove sensor modules to help rapid prototyping. Meanwhile, for developers who want to jumpstart IoT solution design and accelerate development, Avnet offers an Azure Sphere Starter Kit. The kit serves as a secure, fundamental building block that makes it very easy to have a secure device.

In addition to their Starter Kit, Avnet has unveiled two fully certified modules to reduce cost and speed your time-to-market with Microsoft’s Azure Sphere. AI-Link, a subsidiary of ChangHong group, released the first Azure Sphere module that is ready for mass production. AI-Link is a top IoT module developer and manufacturer and has shipped more than 90 million units in 2018.

Microsoft partners are also finding ways to innovate and secure their solutions using Azure Sphere. For instance, LEONI has found a way to make their cable systems smarter, more secure and more reliable. Azure Sphere enables LEONI to quickly connect digital solutions and customer applications, achieve improved hardware performance, and ensure increased security around data and equipment.

Then there is qiio and Feldschlösschen Breweries, a subsidiary of the Carlsberg Group, who have an Azure-enabled beer brewer that sends device utilization, health and performance data to the cloud via the end-to-end IoT solution of qiio. Azure Sphere securely connects the brewer, protecting the device from security breaches, giving Feldschlösschen peace of mind and useful insights around their operations.

Meet these innovative Microsoft partners – LEONI, Avnet, Seeed Studio, qiio, and AI-Link – at Embedded World in Nuremberg to see how they are using Azure Sphere to build transformative solutions.

Register for IoT in Action in Nuremberg on February 25

Register for the IoT in Action global event in Nuremberg on February 25 to find out how these and other Microsoft and partner IoT innovations are driving business transformation in every industry.

For those that want more hands-on learning, join us in Houston on April 16 for a Solution Builder Conference that explores the intelligent edge, IoT cognitive services, hybrid cloud, and IoT solution accelerators. This event is also a fantastic opportunity to talk to experts and build connections in Microsoft’s thriving customer and partner ecosystem.

Visit the Microsoft booth at Embedded World & Mobile World Congress

Explore how Microsoft and its partners’ innovative IoT solutions, using Azure Sphere and Windows IoT, are fueling digital transformation across verticals when you attend one of the following events:

•    Mobile World Congress, February 25-28 (Barcelona, Spain)

•    Embedded World, February 26-28 (Nuremberg, Germany)