Microsoft and the Internet of Things
This past week 12,000 global business leaders gathered together in Atlanta, GA for Convergence 2015. While the opportunity to see business associates, partners, customers, prospects and friends is always enjoyable, for me the best part was to hear from Microsoft senior leadership and to hear of the trends they see and the vision they have for the company. What specifically resonated in their sessions was that building Systems of Intelligence that help enable Intelligent Customer Engagement and Intelligent Operations was a priority.
Why is this this simple statement so exciting? Well it shows that Microsoft is continuing to build on the “One Microsoft” vision…a vision where individual Microsoft tools combined with transformational technologies work together to build an even bigger and better business ecosystem for its customers. Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, said “Businesses are hungry to seize new opportunities using technologies like machine learning and predictive analytics.” “Only when businesses create a culture that empowers everyone to have access to data and insight that drive action will they be positioned to truly transform.”
As someone that focuses on the Manufacturing and Distribution industries, one of the more interesting topics I heard regularly during side conversations was how to better enable different parts of the organization to work together using Microsoft tools. The concept that resonated well was a “Connected Marketing, Sales, and Service” based organization and how this improves a company’s ability to delight customers. In this organization, there are no silos of information and learnings from each department are shared to the betterment of the company as a whole. Microsoft has even built Industry Templates into Microsoft Dynamics CRM focusing on Connected Marketing, Sales, and Service (Connected MSS) scenarios that consumers can download as well as videos to further detail the Connected MSS scenario.
While connecting the various parts of the organization is important, simply connecting them is not going to make them work more effectively. We have technology in place that allows us to have sensors in products that can transmit massive amounts of data proactively allowing manufacturers to gain insight into usage and performance of their products. All of this data is collected through the Internet of Things (IoT). With IoT we are connected both inside and outside the organization…making for it possible now to have a full 360 degree view of our business.
Now as you can imagine, collecting data from millions and millions of sensors is quite system intensive. Traditional in-house computer environments aren’t capable of handling the volume of information. This is where Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite comes into play with capabilities to connect devices, capture the diverse and voluminous data they generate, integrate and orchestrate the flow of that data, and manage, analyze and present it as usable information to the people who need it to make better decisions as well as intelligently automate operations.
I found a session at Convergence 2015 that really drove the point home. It was an interactive discussion (ID15C552) entitled Microsoft and the Internet of Things: One Microsoft is the Key. Colin Masson and Michel Putnik put together a great presentation highlighting the impact of IoT in the Manufacturers world. They pointed out some current scenarios and use cases for several different organization that had taken advantage of Microsoft’s leadership in this space. Two specific customer examples mentioned included ThyssenKrupp Elevator and Rockwell Automation. They specifically highlighted how the use of sensors data had revolutionized their business allowing them to vastly improve their operations and even offer new services its competitors could not…predictive and preventative maintenance.
While ThyssenKrupp and Rockwell Automation are just two examples of manufacturers effectively leveraging IoT, it really demonstrates how organizations that have the right tools can transform themselves to become industry leaders. Rockwell Automation is now able to monitor tremendously expensive capital assets and reduce costly downtime and maintenance. For ThyssenKrupp they are able to offer much more than simply elevator services, but are now able to provide guaranteed up-time to its customers. Technologies like IoT and predictive analytics can be game changers in the manufacturing industry. For every manufacturer there is a unique scenario where IoT can offer efficiencies, effectiveness, and even new business transformational opportunities. It’s just up to you to use your imagination…Microsoft can provide the know how to make it work for you.
For more insight and information on the latest news around these technologies come join us at Hannover Messe where we’ll be highlighting these connected scenarios and new service offerings.