Telefónica tightens up Azure integration to improve IoT streaming
Telefónica is offering tighter control and integration with Microsoft’s Azure IoT suite, to enable its enterprise customers using public clouds to more easily connect and manage their IoT devices.
The Spain-based carrier said customers connecting IoT devices to the Azure IoT Hub, Microsoft’s IoT management platform, have until now faced issues with availability and traceability.
“Companies commonly face challenges when connecting their devices, such as unreliable services and data flows traceability. Furthermore, there is a requirement for device credentials, which results in higher costs and the need for firmware customization, as well as higher data and battery consumption due to cyphered communications,” the company said in a statement.
Vicente Muñoz, chief IoT officer at Telefónica, said: “The purpose of this integration is to solve customer issues when streaming data from device to cloud, leveraging on-network authentication and identity to offer a zero-touch device provisioning, reducing device complexity and required customization.”
Telefónica said it will integrate its IoT platform APIs with Azure’s ‘device twins’, to provide a single interface for software development, also enabling better analytics and diagnosis capabilities. The pair said they will also collaborate on new projects around IoT connectivity and security.
Support for the booming IoT space is a major priority for Telefónica. The service provider’s UNICA initiative is designed to use NFV, SDN and cloud computing to create a virtual, cloud-based network that has the flexibility to automatically meet the service requirements of a rapidly growing set of network-based services. In a showcase at Mobile World Congress, Telefónica worked with compatriot automotive manufacturer SEAT to demonstrate how 5G, combined with blockchain, a software-based ledger generally associated with tracking cryptocurrency transactions, can lend data insight to supply chain management.
IoT sensors are added to parts SEAT receives from suppliers, which provides location and other metrics associated with parts moving through the supply chain. Blockchain records and provides access to data collected by the sensors. In a separate demo involving the same partners, 5G connectivity was used to control robotic components that assemble vehicles. The sum total is lower costs related to manufacturing, increased productivity and increased output.
“Today, practically all industries and sectors rely on new technologies to improve their processes,” according to Muñoz. “The purpose is to be more efficient and secure and even to improve forecasting of business needs. The industrial sector has specific security, real time decision-making and service quality requirements to which the connectivity of objects is learning to respond, using the IoT, the evolution of cellular networks and new processes, such as the blockchain. Our challenge as a company is to change people’s lives, and in this case, to help businesses become more efficient, assisting them in taking decisions based on data and digitalizing their processes to make them more efficient.”