This past Monday, 3/16, Microsoft held its  Microsoft Convergence 2015 in Atlanta. There, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the Azure IoT Suite.

I think that cloud-based platforms supporting this Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon will proliferate for a while until we reach some sort of stability. Nadella came from this part of Microsoft, so I’m not surprised to see continued emphasis on these enterprise platform technologies.

An interesting highlight for us manufacturing and production geeks was that Microsoft brought an application by Rockwell Automation front and center. When Rockwell started doing these services, the Internet of Things phrase had not even been invented. It now finds itself in front of the IoT parade in the Microsoft keynote. I guess the time has come.

Quoting from its blog, “Microsoft’s vision is to help companies thrive in this era of IoT, delivering open, scalable platforms and services that any company, whether startup or the most established global enterprises, can use to create new value, right now. Nadella mentioned our investments in the Windows 10 IoT operating system for devices, and equally with the Azure IoT Suite, we’re bringing together a variety of Azure services to help our customers accelerate their transformation to digital businesses.”

This reminds me of conversations with Microsoft people stretching as far back as 1999 where the topic was Microsoft as a platform company that provided a foundation for industrial applications. Looks like it is consistently fulfilling that vision.

Microsoft introduced a preview of the Azure Intelligent Systems Service last April. It is designed to securely connect, manage and capture machine-generated data from sensors and devices. “If the Intelligent Systems Service was a starting point, the Azure IoT Suite is its evolution and maturation – a reflection of what we learned from the feedback provided by our customers and partners throughout the preview.”

The Azure IoT Suite is an integrated offering that takes advantage of all the relevant Azure capabilities to connect devices and other assets (i.e. “things”), capture the diverse and voluminous data they generate, integrate and orchestrate the flow of that data, and manage, analyze and present it as usable information to the people who need it to make better decisions as well as intelligently automate operations. The offering, while customizable to fit the unique needs of organizations, will also provide finished applications to speed deployment of common scenarios we see across many industries, such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance, while providing the ability to grow and scale solutions to millions of “things.”

Additionally, the Azure IoT Suite will provide a simple and predictable pricing model despite the rich set of capabilities and broad scenarios it delivers, so our customers can plan and budget appropriately. This approach is aimed at simplifying the complexities that often exist with implementing and costing IoT solutions.

The Azure IoT Suite will be released in preview later this year.

Nadella even talked manufacturing industry featuring Rockwell Automation, playing this video. One of my Twitter contacts pointed this out and asked how much was real and how much was hype. Well, I’ve actually seen similar applications at Rockwell, so it is just good marketing communication of a real service built on what is now known as Internet of Things.

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