Microsoft this week introduced new Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities across a wide swath of products, including IoT Central, the company’s IoT app platform; and several tools in the Azure cloud. The company also announced that Azure Sphere, its Linux-based solution for creating secure, internet-connected microcontroller (MCU) devices, will be generally available in February 2020. The capabilities are designed to address the challenge of securing connected devices at every layer and simplify building and scaling affordable, enterprise-grade IoT solutions, according to Microsoft.
New features to IoT Central include:
- 11 new industry-focused application templates to accelerate solution builders across retail, healthcare, government, and energy
- API support for extending IoT Central or integrating it with other solutions
- IoT edge support, including management for edge devices and IoT edge module deployments
- IoT plug-and-play support for rapid device development and connectivity
- The ability to save and load applications to enable application reusability
- More data export options for continually exporting data to other Azure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) services, such as storage for rich analytics
- Multitenancy support
- Custom user roles for fine-grained access control to data, actions and configurations in the system.
In addition, Microsoft announced a new pricing model for IoT Central, expected early in 2020, that is designed to help customers and partners have predictable pricing as usage scales, according to the company.
The Azure portfolio also received several new capabilities. For IoT Hub message enrichment, Microsoft has added the ability to stamp messages coming from devices with rich information before they are sent to downstream cloud services, making integration easy.
In addition, Azure Maps will now be available on Gov Cloud, simplifying the onboarding process for customers.
Azure RTOS will be broadly available across MCU maker Renesas’ products, including the Synergy and RA MCU families. It is already integrated into the Renesas Synergy Software Package and will be integrated out of box with the Renesas RA Flexible Software Package.
And Microsoft previewed new capabilities for Azure Time Series Insights, its end-to-end PaaS offering for collecting, processing, storing, analyzing, and querying highly contextualized, time-series-optimized IoT-scale data. These include: multilayered storage, flexble cold storge, rich query APIs, and the Time Series Insights Power BI connector that allows customers to take queries from Time Series Insights into Power BI to get a unified view in a single pane of glass.
Finally, Microsoft announced it has added support for national clouds.
“At Microsoft, we are committed to building a trusted, easy-to-use platform that allows our customers and partners to build seamless, smart, secure solutions regardless of where they are in the IoT journey,” said Sam George (pictured), corporate vice president of Azure IoT at Microsoft in a press statement. “That’s why we are investing $5B in IoT and intelligent edge—technology that is accelerating ubiquitous computing and bringing unparalleled opportunity across industries.”
In the past year, Microsoft has launched more than 100 new IoT services and features.
Image: Courtesy Microsoft