Thursday, June 30, 2022

Microsoft Azure: Internet of Things (IoT) Portfolio Review

Microsoft Azure’s Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio is a collection offerings to control, monitor, and secure IoT networks and assets. 

Microsoft Azure and other cloud services from the company grew 51% year over year in Q4 of 2021.

See below to review Microsoft Azure’s presence in the IoT market:

Microsoft Azure IoT Portfolio

Azure IoT Hub

Azure IoT Hub is a centralized, cloud-hosted solution to connect, manage, and monitor your IoT network and assets. It prompts highly secure and reliable communication between IoT apps and the devices in question.

  • Secure communication channel
  • Over-the-air deployment of updates through the Hub
  • Full integration with Azure Event Gris and serverless computing
  • Support for building hybrid IoT apps with Azure IoT Edge and Azure stack

Azure IoT Central

Azure IoT Central is a hosted platform where you can build IoT applications. It’s highly scalable and can be integrated with existing business apps. It simplifies IoT with plug and play and allows you to build scalable solutions through the app’s open modeling language.

  • Swift connectivity between IoT devices and the cloud
  • Update deployment and reconfiguration with centralized management
  • Enterprise-grade and predictable pricing

Azure Twin Digital

Azure Digital Twins is an IoT platform that enables you to use IoT spatial intelligence to create models of your physical environment. It allows you to create digitized versions of real-world things, places, and business processes and gain direct insights to optimize your workflow.

  • Support for open modeling language
  • Live graph representation using live execution environment
  • Output to Time Series Insights, storage, and analytics
  • Direct input from IoT and business systems

Azure IoT Edge

Azure IoT Edge allows you to break up data silos and consolidate operational data at scale in the cloud. The optimized cloud setting means devices are able to react faster to local changes, even offline.

  • Remotely manage and deploy workloads
  • Docker-compatible containers for business logic at the edge
  • Compatible with Linux and Windows devices that support container engines
  • Free and open source that allows for control and code flexibility

Azure Percept

Azure Percept is an accelerated edge intelligence platform. It also includes added security used for creating edge AI solutions.

  • End-to-end edge AI platform
  • Hardware accelerators integrated with Azure AI and IoT services
  • Built-in security measures
  • Pre-built AI models and solutions

Azure Sphere

Azure Sphere is a service that provides software, hardware, and cloud physical and cybersecurity to your IoT network and connected devices.

  • Provides multiple layers of protection
  • Flexible deployment that allows you to secure existing IoT environments
  • Error reporting and automatic security updates
  • Over-the-air (OTA) updates and security reconfiguration

Windows for IoT

Windows for IoT enables you to build intelligent edge solutions on your Windows foundation. The apps connect devices seamlessly with Azure IoT, allowing you to harness insights and deliver personalized experiences to your customers and clients.

  • Utilizes Windows gaming and Xbox graphic and media foundation to create user experiences
  • Powerful development tools for building and managing Windows for IoT devices
  • Reduces device recertification, improves viability, and eliminates security risk through 10-year life cycle support
  • Open cloud protocol support and out-of-box experience that brings Azure intelligence to Windows

Azure RTOS

Azure RTOS is an embedded IoT development and connectivity suite that hosts its own operating system. It’s been deployed on more than 10 billion devices globally and supports most 32-bit microcontrollers and development tools.

  • Easy connection to cloud and local networks
  • Develop durable flash systems and elegant user interfaces
  • Fast performance and small footprint
  • Connects the most popular MCUs and MPUs to Azure IoT
  • Code certified to meet industry safety and security standards

Azure Time Series Insights

Azure Time Series Insights visualizes IoT data in real-time and optimizes it for decision-making. It can accelerate IoT analytics used throughout your organization.

  • Out-of-the-box ready for IoT devices
  • Warm and cold data analytics
  • Contextualizes data based on your IoT model
  • Powerful data visualization

Microsoft Azure IoT Partners

The Azure for Technology Partners program provides you with cloud technology and over 90,000 Azure services that help you with anything from migrating from another cloud and refactoring applications to building new software and creating new experiences for your customers.

You’ll also have access and support to work with partner technologies from companies such as TwinWorX, Node-Red, and Crestron XiO Cloud.

Microsoft Azure IoT Use Case

Advantech is a leader in technology manufacturing on a global scale, producing both software and hardware solutions for IoT intelligence systems, machine automation, and embedded computing.

Advantech recently needed to introduce a proactive IT security stance for their corporate workplace. They decided to build on the existing Microsoft 365 investment to include a range of connected features that streamline deployment and operation.

Using Microsoft Defender for IoT, Advantech’s security team was able to raise visibility in their IoT network and operation technology. Through vulnerability management and continuous threat monitoring, they were able to better detect anomalies and safeguard digital assets.

“We had many remote business units — around 50 branch offices worldwide — and we didn’t have much visibility into our network,” says Kevin Lin, IT manager at Advantech.

“With our investment in the cloud, the expertise of our partner, and a modern security infrastructure from Microsoft, we can concentrate on our core business — that’s what is best for us and our customers.” 

Before using to Microsoft, Advantech’s security score was 38%. But by implementing various Microsoft solutions to secure their cloud and IoT network, they’re expecting to achieve more than 50% in under a year.

User Reviews of Microsoft Azure IoT

Ever since Microsoft Azure’s launch in 2010, they’ve had overwhelmingly positive reviews of their IoT offering and solutions.

Despite the slight variation of score from one product to the next, user reviews from third-party sites indicate product quality and customer satisfaction.

Capterra: 4 out of 5

Gartner Peer Insights: 4.3 out of 5

G2: 4.1 out of 5

TrustRadius: 8.7 out of 10

Industry Recognition of Microsoft Azure IoT

Over the past few years, Microsoft has received multiple awards and industry recognition for its Azure IoT solutions.

In 2019, Forrester named Microsoft a leader in the “Wave” report for industrial IoT (IIoT) software platforms.

Furthermore, Microsoft was named a leader in the Gartner 2020 “Magic Quadrant” for IoT platforms.

Microsoft Azure in the IoT Market

Microsoft held a 23% share of the IoT market, as of 2019. They ranked just behind Amazon Web Services (AWS) (34% share) and ahead of Google Cloud (20% share).

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