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IoT Strategies

Microsoft Aims to Create Azure IoT Ecosystem

Aiming to build a new market for its cloud service, Microsoft has introduced the Azure IoT Suite, which corporate customers are meant to use as a means of managing their Internet of Things (IoT) systems.

At the same time, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced it will be orchestrating an ecosystem for the development of IoT products. The company cited a set of prominent partners with which it is working, including chip vendors Freescale Semiconductor Inc. , Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN).

The functions the Azure IoT Suite performs start with connecting to any installed IoT devices and any deployed IoT software. The technology can then be used to collect data, display it on dashboards and other visualizations, provide preconfigured solutions, offer data analysis, provide reporting and support information sharing. Microsoft says this is all done in near real time.

Azure IoT Suite customers can use the information for monitoring, to aid in network maintenance and, eventually, for automation.

The company said pricing for the Azure IoT Suite will work out to approximately $1.50 per device per month.

Microsoft has set up a program, called Azure Certified for IoT, which will test and certify IoT-enabled platforms, devices and operating systems created by participating vendors to assure those products will work in various combinations while connected through Azure and managed by the Azure IoT Suite.

The other initial participants in the Azure Certified for IoT program are Arrow Electronics Inc. (NYSE: ARW), Beagleboard.org, Minnowboard.org, Raspberry Pi, Resin.io, and Seeed Studio.

Microsoft has constantly been mocked for failing to take advantage of opportunities outside of the PC segment. It appears determined to follow one tried-and-true path for success as it targets the market for the IoT.

Microsoft knows well that becoming the leading innovator in a fundamental technology required for a given product category is one method that leads to dominating a market. That's what Microsoft itself did with operating systems for PCs. It's what Apple is doing now with processors for smartphones.


Want to know more about platforms for the Internet of Things? Check out our dedicated IoT content channel here on Light Reading.


Starting at the point where the product cycle starts -- with the development community -- is part of Microsoft's strategy to cement its claim of leadership in the IoT market.

Microsoft is collaborating with Texas Instruments to create development kits for IoT products that will work with Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.

TI announced three evaluation kits based on its embedded processors supporting Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT.

TI said it has ported Microsoft Azure IoT Suite's agent code to its low-power SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 wireless MCU LaunchPad kit and Sitara AM335x processor-based BeagleBone Black and BeagleBoard Green kits. TI said developers can expect additional certifications of TI products in the coming months.

Microsoft has also certified the ARM mbed Enabled Freescale FRDM-K64F development board for IoT. ARM said this is the first ARM mbed board tested and verified through the Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT program.

Developers using the ARM Cortex-M4 based FRDM-K64F board will have access and guided instructions to the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite software development kits (SDKs). The libraries have been tested on the board and can be used with mbed applications through the mbed developer website to enable direct connectivity with Azure IoT Suite.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

Mitch Wagner 9/30/2015 | 11:39:47 PM
Pricing $1.50 per device seems high considering the volume of devices being discussed for IoT.
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