Together with associated technologies such as cloud and edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and mixed reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how people live and work. Business decision makers and IT leaders are launching IoT initiatives at an accelerating rate, across industries and around the world.
Unsurprisingly, business leaders are finding that as IoT adoption becomes more widespread, it is also becoming more and more essential for growth and maintaining a competitive edge. According to the recent Microsoft IoT Signals report, 85 percent of decision makers report that their enterprises have already adopted at least one IoT project, and 94 percent plan to do so within the next two years. Among those surveyed, 88 percent say that IoT is critical to their company’s success.
We sat down with several leading Microsoft partners during recent Microsoft IoT in Action events to discuss their experiences developing, implementing, and selling IoT solutions. The IoT in Action free events are a valuable opportunity to get all your questions answered and build connections with potential IoT partners. Register for our upcoming events in Santa Clara, Warsaw, Frankfurt, Toronto, Auckland, and more.
Integrating End-to-End Security
Security is a top priority for the vast majority of companies implementing IoT projects (though for most, it is not standing in the way of adoption). 97 percent of leaders surveyed indicated that they had concerns about IoT security. For many, the question of how to ensure IoT security goes hand-in-hand with concerns about the technology’s complexity.
To minimize risks to your business data and other valued assets, you must build security into every part of your IoT platform at every stage of its development. Microsoft is striving to reduce the complexity of implementing end-to-end security in IoT deployments, and to help its customers and partners do so as well.
By creating a comprehensive IoT solution including hardware, a native operating system with integrated security features, and device-to-cloud trust brokerage in Azure Sphere, Microsoft simplifies the process of deploying new connected devices securely. Companies can turn to the guardian module in Azure Sphere to enable existing IoT devices to connect to the cloud securely.
Simplicity is Essential for IT Buyer Clients
The most prevalent barriers to IoT adoption are the complexity of these technologies and the technical challenges this poses. In fact, 38 percent of decision makers surveyed in the IoT Signals report listed complexity as the biggest roadblock on their path to adoption.
We heard the same theme in our conversations with Microsoft partners. As Travis Gerber, CEO of Buddy Platform, explains, “Customers often tell us they are looking for solutions that are both simple and secure. This looks slightly different for everyone. For us, that means translating complex building data into meaningful insights they can take action on.”
From the edge to the cloud, IoT needs to be made simple for IT buyers to implement and use. To help clients and partners overcome these challenges, Microsoft is focusing on making it easier to connect IoT devices to the cloud seamlessly, without the need for embedded code. With the release of IoT Plug and Play, developers can quickly connect IoT devices to the cloud without complex custom hardware and software configuration. And with Azure IoT Central or Azure IoT Hub, large-scale IoT deployments can be prototyped and deployed quickly by connecting to a pre-built cloud-hosted solution backend.
Collaborating to Accelerate Time-to-Market, Draw More Insights from Data
As business leaders continue to prioritize the adoption and deployment of IoT platforms, they’re seeking out relationships with the vendors who are best able to help them solve the technology’s inherent problems and minimize its challenges. Success not only requires implementing new solutions, but also demands that companies leverage tools and resources to transform raw data into actionable insights, and to do so quickly and at scale.
Companies are increasingly turning to the cloud’s virtually unlimited processing power to harness the potential of the data collected by connected devices and sensors. As Eyal Feder-Levy, CEO of Microsoft partner Zencity, which draws on Microsoft services and platforms to provide real-time insights to its customers, explains, “We use a lot of Azure’s more advanced capabilities around AI to build the processing that we need to analyze millions and millions of data points from all of these different feedback sources and turn them in real time into insights for CD leaders.”
They’re also increasingly concerned with shortening the development process and speeding time-to-market in order to get ahead of agile competitors. To help them accomplish this without compromising quality and security, Microsoft is offering new programs and resources that allow companies to leverage pre-existing building blocks to fast track IoT projects. “One of the great things that we’re seeing that Microsoft is doing is with its solution accelerators, really helping our customers and ISPs that are partnered with Cradlepoint to bring that solution to market much faster,” says Tony Puopolo, VP of North America Channel Sales & Alliances at Cradlepoint.