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Microsoft to invest $5 billion to advance IoT

Microsoft promises to pump $5 billion into the IoT and edge computing

Microsoft recently unveiled plans to invest $5 billion in the internet of things (IoT) over the next four years.

The announcement was made by Corporate Vice President of Azure Julia White in a company blog post. She said the tech giant plans to invest $5 billion in key areas, such as securing IoT, creating development tools and intelligent services for the IoT and edge, and growing its partner ecosystem.

Microsoft has been embracing the IoT over the last few years. Its IoT platform encompasses cloud, OS and devices. Azure IoT Suite is available as an option on the platform, and serves as a collection of preconfigured solutions intended to accelerate the development of IoT solutions.

“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,” wrote White. “We’ve seen great traction with customers and partners who continue to come up with new ideas and execute them on our platform.”

Among the companies leveraging Microsoft’s IoT platform include Steelcase, Kohler, Chevron, Schneider Electric, United Technologies and Johnson Controls. White also noted Alaska Department of Transportation is working with Fathym to build a roadway traffic alert system using Azure IoT technologies.

Microsoft has been investing more in edge computing as well, which is expected to play a major role in enabling the growing number of IoT devices. Last May, for example, Microsoft launched Azure IoT Edge in an effort to make it easier to move some computing needs to edge devices. Research firm Gartner projects by 2021, approximately 25.1 billion devices will be connected to the web.

News of Microsoft’s $5 billion pledge followed the company announcing it is updating its Azure IoT Hub to provide a basic tier or “device to cloud telemetry” tier. Microsoft said the basic tier will provide support to inbound telemetry scenarios with the same security, scale, performance and reliability of the existing Azure IoT Hub standard tier. It is geared toward small-to-medium sized businesses looking to enter the IoT space. The company also cut standard tier pricing in half as part of the announcement.

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