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IoT opportunities grow as Microsoft pours $5b into the intelligent edge

06 Apr 18

Microsoft has announced that they will be investing US$5 billion into IoT over the next four years.

The computer giant has never been shy about using their considerable resources to further research into groundbreaking technologies - at this moment, they are inching closer to releasing the first ever quantum computer.

Now, they are turning their sights to a technology that has the potential to revolutionise the world in way that is just as dramatic.

“The reason we are doing this is simple,” says Microsoft Azure CVP Julia White in a blog post announcing the news.

“Our goal is to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions. It’s well understood that IoT solutions can create operational efficiencies, but we know the true impact extends well beyond that into our daily lives. Our customers are delivering electricity to schools in Africa, creating better patient outcomes with predictive care, improving worker safety on job sites and driver safety on Alaskan roadways.”

This investment will inevitably have an impact on local economies.

Even beyond any A/NZ IoT companies that may directly benefit from the investment, the advancement of this tech’s development will mean an acceleration of the economic benefits that come with integrating IoT into the supply chain.

“From logistics to transport to agriculture to tourism to packaging to products to manufacturing, granular data collection gives us a richer data set and helps with forecast models and planning,” NZ IoT Alliance executive director Kriv Naicker says.

“Data analytics and insight drive value in terms of the huge amounts of data that IoT will pump through. Predictive analytics and augmentation of insights will continue to see that being built on with AI, machine learning, deep learning, etc. Further value from IoT investment comes with the other exponential technologies that are hitting the market - blockchain, block computing, edge computing, AR/VR, drones.”

White backs this view up in the blog post as she outlines use-cases where IoT has lead directly to some real change.

“Schneider Electric has built a solution to harness solar energy in Nigeria and (is) using our IoT platform to do maintenance remotely on the panels, quite literally to keep the lights on… The Alaska Department of Transportation is working with Colorado-based Fathym to build smart roadways that monitor weather conditions and can alert drivers and state officials about treacherous conditions.”

In New Zealand and Australia, the opportunity for partners and end-users across government and industry will continue to grow proportionately to investment from Microsoft and other major vendors.

The blog post makes it clear that for anyone wanting to harness the potential that investments like these offer, creativity and innovation will be the key.

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