Here’s Microsoft’s vision for IoT. Source: Shutterstock

Here’s why Microsoft plans to pour $5bn into IoT by 2022

NOBODY in today’s world questions the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), however, many businesses find the technology a bit intimidating when it comes to adopting and implementing it within their own operations.

Hypothetical applications of IoT and pilot studies in various industries suggest that the technology can not only transform how the company does business but also transform its business model.

To help these businesses, technology companies are making investments in IoT – to simplify it for end-users who would then find it easier to imagine, implement, and benefit from solutions it offers.

Most recently, Microsoft announced that it would invest US$5 billion in the IoT over the next four years to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions.

Although it sounds like a noble cause, the company stands to benefit just as much.

Over the years, Microsoft has quietly been building up an arsenal of IoT-driven solutions. Whether you think of manufacturing, transportation, retail, healthcare, or urban cities – Microsoft has solutions that help companies “build things, control things, analyze data, and act on insights”.

It’s well understood that IoT solutions can create operational efficiencies, but the company knows that its true impact extends well beyond that into our daily lives. In fact, Microsoft claims that its customers are using IoT to deliver electricity to schools in Africa, create better patient outcomes with predictive care, improve worker safety on job sites and driver safety on Alaskan roadways.

Microsoft Azure Corporate Vice-President (CVP) Julia White, in her recent blog post, said that the tech giant is planning to dedicate even more resources to research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge.

“With our IoT platform spanning cloud, OS and devices, we are uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey so any customer—regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors—can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world. The investment we have announced today will ensure we continue to meet all our customers’ needs both now and in the future,” she said.

According to White, the investments will help advance the opportunities in IoT and Intelligent Edge. It will also enable increasingly sophisticated customers.

“We’re now seeing the kind of increased adoption and exponential growth that analysts have been forecasting for years, and we’re just getting started,” said White who was referring to the predictions made by the likes of Gartner, IDC, and A.T. Kearney for years.

Most recently, A.T. Kearney predicted that IoT will lead to a $1.9 trillion productivity increase and $177 billion in reduced costs by 2020. Analysts expect that its effect will be pervasive, from connected homes and cars to manufacturers to smart cities and utilities—and everything in between.

Microsoft believes that its increased investment will support continued innovation as they fuel R&D efforts in key areas, including securing IoT, creating development tools and intelligent services for IoT and the edge, and investments to grow their partner ecosystem.

Microsoft’s IoT offerings today include what businesses need to get started, ranging from operating systems for devices, cloud services to control and secure them, advanced analytics to gain insights, and business applications to enable intelligent action.

“We’ve seen great traction with customers and partners who continue to come up with new ideas and execute them on our platform,” said White, who cites examples of companies like Steelcase, Kohler, Chevron, United Technologies and Johnson Controls who are all innovating with Microsoft’s IoT platform, launching new products, solutions, and services that transform their business.

Microsoft re-affairs its commitment to helping customers bring their vision to life across every industry with this investment. “Today’s announcement is big—for us and for the future of IoT and the intelligent edge. It positions us to support customers as they develop new and increasingly sophisticated IoT solutions, which few could have imagined just a few years ago. We can’t wait to see what comes from our customers and partners next, and we’ll have more to share throughout the year,” White said.