Microsoft which had already spent $1.5 billion on Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives till date announced that it will invest $5 billion more in IoT globally over the next 4 years. The new investment will be used on company’s research, innovation and enablement of partner ecosystem for IoT. This seems to be a good move because in last couple of years, Microsoft Azure has witnessed decent traction and investment in IoT is logical as more demand is expected from connected devices. With Microsoft’s IoT platform spanning cloud, operating system and devices, tech giant is aiming to simplify the IoT offerings to reach out to all companies—regardless of their size, technical expertise, budget and industry.
As far as India is concern, IoT is gathering momentum here. Microsoft India is already working with large number of companies on IoT especially in areas like electricity, resources, predictive healthcare, and automobile safety among other. Here are some of the key IoT projects that Microsoft is working on in India.
IoT Monitoring of Water Quality
Authorities across states are turning to IoT to monitor drinking water quality for its citizens. TechSpan Engineering has implemented a monitoring system built on the Azure IoT platform, using sensors provided by the Austrian firm s::can and their India Partner Aaxis Nano. Using Microsoft cloud, IoT and data, the solution taps into the s::can sensors to provide measurements across 17 parameters – from Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chloride and Fluoride levels to temperature and color. The solution is currently being used for Monitoring drinking water quality online by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (125 stations) and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) in Hubli, Dharwad and Bijapur (3 stations).
IoT based Smart Lighting
Microsoft Azure IoT is also part of Jaipur Smart Street Lighting Project. The Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) operates and maintains over 100,000 public street lights within the city. However, one of three in these lamps did not work and many others functioned poorly, leading to several areas of the city being in the dark. Microsoft’s partner Samudra LED has now deployed a customized Microsoft IoT-platform-based solution created by ISV Precimetrix to monitor, control and manage smart LED public street lights.
Researchers at IISc Bangalore are also using a network of IoT sensors coupled with Microsoft Azure analytics to find how cloud technologies can help tackle water scarcity in cities.
IoT in Agriculture
Microsoft FarmBeats is a research project for agriculture that enables seamless data collection from various sensors, cameras and drones. It comprises two broad areas viz., a, data-acquisition system consisting of drones and sensors and a data-analysis system consisting of connectivity pieces, cloud storage, and predictive analysis.
IoT in the Automobile Sector
Earlier last year, Tata Motors announced it will use Microsoft’s connected vehicle technologies that bring together AI, advanced ML, and IoT capabilities on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, to create a personalized, smart and safer driving experience across the digital life of a vehicle owner.
Tyre Express, a startup pioneering lifecycle management for fleet operators, has developed an IoT based Tyre Performance Management Solution. Powered by the Azure IoT Hub, Tyre Express is helping build operational efficiency for commercial vehicle fleet operators by tracking tyre performance. In India, procurement of new tyres for a commercial vehicle approximately costs about Rs 1-1.5 lakhs. Fluctuations in pressure and temperature can have a dramatic effect on their life span. Tyres are one of the largest consumables for fleet operators after fuel. Operating a vehicle with tyre pressure 20% below rated pressure increases fuel consumption by 5-10% and reduces tyre life by 15% to 20%. The new IoT platform helps monitor tyre performance in real time to help customers take suitable action and improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve profitability.
IoT in Manufacturing for Predictive Maintenance
Tetra Pak is employing new, digital tools that enable its cloud-connected machines to predict exactly when equipment needs maintenance, averting many breakdowns. Sensors on more than 5,000 Tetra Pak filling machines at customers’ sites globally, all connected to Microsoft Azure, feed real-time performance data to the company for monitoring and analysis – nearly 700 million data points each year. As a result, maintenance can be scheduled precisely and efficiently. During a recent, six-month period involving 11 packaging lines, the company predicted future breakdowns in five of those lines, spurring preventive maintenance and saving those customers more than $30,000.
Microsoft IoT Central
Recently, Microsoft announced Microsoft IoT Central, the highly scalable IoT SaaS solution that has built-in support for IoT best practices and world class security along with the reliability, regional availability, and global scale of the Azure cloud. Microsoft IoT Central allows companies to build production-grade IoT applications in hours and not worry about managing all the necessary backend infrastructure or hiring new skill sets to develop the solutions.
Microsoft’s IoT offerings include operating systems for devices, cloud services to control and secure them, advanced analytics to gain insights, and business applications to enable intelligent action.