Understanding the Azure IoT Suite
The Internet of Things has invaded almost every aspect of daily life. We now use smartwatches to track our activity levels and illuminate our homes with voice-controlled lighting fixtures. These web-enabled items are also ubiquitous in the workplace, as organizations harness the power of wireless technology to automate internal processes and bolster internal collaboration.
Overall, technology-savvy users added more than 4.6 billion connected devices 1 to the Internet of Things this year alone, according to recent data from Gartner.
Microsoft foresaw this new reality before it unfolded and crafted a cloud-based product offering to support enterprises looking to adopt IoT technology: the Azure IoT Suite. CEO Satya Nadella announced the software back in March 2015 at the company’s annual conference in Atlanta and hinted at data-dominant future driven by countless devices, according to a press release.
“When we think about Internet of Things it starts, obviously, with whatever it is that you make, any service that you provide, and connecting it up to the cloud,” Nadella explained to the crowd assembled. “In fact, we are going to have something like 26 billion internet connected devices.”
The Azure IoT Suite gives companies the tools they need to build an internal infrastructure that can handle dozens or perhaps hundreds of IoT items.
Handling the hub
The IoT Hub is the centerpiece of the product2, allowing users to connect and extract data from literally millions of devices. From the Hub, information technology staff can configure device registries, build out dedicated cloud assets for storing IoT data and manage system security features.
Using Gateway SDK
Within the Hub lies an another essential component of the IoT Suite: Gateway SDK. This tool gives IT teams the ability to put into place IoT gateway devices that establish networks to which other web-enabled items can connect. This comes in handy for businesses with expansive field operations or remote offices in far-flung locations.
Capitalizing on the backend
Microsoft offers a number of backend services that complement the IoT Suite, including a machine learning application. While such a feature might seem complicated and a little too much for normal working situations, even those involving cutting-edge web-enabled devices, it can add real value to enterprises of any kind, especially those that must collect and analyze large amounts of data.
IT personnel can use Microsoft’s machine learning interface3 to create predictive analytic models that allow their organizations to cull actionable intelligence from via IoT devices and build data sets that reveal future operational trends.
Microsoft engineered the Azure IoT Suite with integration in mind, giving the power to communicate with third-party platforms such as Oracle and Salesforce. This of course makes things easier for organizations that want to ease their way into cloud computing and therefore favor a hybrid approach wherein some systems remain in on-premises servers.
As businesses step up efforts to empower their staff with IoT technology, solutions such as the Azure IoT Suite will become more essential. After all, the millions or possibly billions of devices entering workplaces around the world cannot manage themselves.
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