Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling us to build smart homes, smart cities, industrial automation, smart cars, connected healthcare, smart retail, smart farming and more. So businesses all around the world are actively investigating the possibilities of IoT. At the same time, companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are investing in cutting-edge technology to serve the IoT market.
Expanding Influence of IoT
According to Gartner, $2 trillion will be spent on IoT endpoints and services worldwide in 2017. The number is bound to go up as connected device numbers are projected to increase from 8.4 billion to 20.4 billion by 2020.
The explosive growth comes with its own challenges. Businesses have to manage their IoT communication, security, and operational scales. They need platforms and services that can help them cope with the fast-paced growth. Also, each business has its own specialized requirements. So Microsoft is offering a cloud-based solution called Azure IoT Hub. It will help with the IoT expansion needs of various industries.
Microsoft Azure IoT Hub: A Major Player
Azure IoT Hub is part of Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite. It allows businesses to connect their IoT assets quickly and monitor them easily. It can scale to accommodate billions of connected devices. Customers can use it to set up bi-directional communications between devices through the cloud. It can authenticate the devices to provide a layer of security and access control. Also, it provides access to telemetry and Microsoft’s Machine Learning service for intelligent business analytics.
Microsoft Azure IoT Hub in Action
Microsoft has been helping their IoT customers set up solutions across industries worldwide. Here are a few examples:
Zion China is a great example of an innovator in the mobile healthcare services. The company implements intelligent diabetes management solution through mobile devices and wearables. It is currently using Microsoft IoT Hub for its application E-Followup.
Zion China’s initial solution used traditional business intelligence (BI) for data collection and analysis. However, the company wanted their IoT devices to communicate 3,000 diabetes readings in a 7-day period from each patient. It was impossible for traditional BI methods. But Azure IoT Hub was up for the challenge.
Microsoft team helped Zion China architect a solution that could transmit the massive real-time data securely. Also, the Azure IoT Hub has easy access to Microsoft's Machine Learning and Power BI tools. These tools help Zion China create visualizations for easy data interpretation and make proactive predictions about patient glucose levels.
Green Infrastructure Automation
Johnson Controls has been in the infrastructure business since 1885. It is at the forefront of building automation for energy efficiency. It was one of the four partners in the 2007 Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program for Clinton Climate Initiative.
The company's Smart Connected Chillers project is a great IoT success story. It has thousands of chillers across more than 5,000 rooftops and 40,000 buildings. Some are on mission-critical structures like hospitals. The company needed to connect all the sensors and monitors from these devices to a reliable hub that could collect the data and create predictive maintenance analytics for their employees. This would allow the company to pinpoint failures before they occurred.
They chose Azure IoT Hub as the backbone of the system. Besides providing reliable data aggregation and maintenance analytics, the system also helps Johnson Controls modulate energy consumption and save money for their customers.
Helping Airlines Save Time and Money
Any aircraft sitting on the ground is expensive for the airline industry. As one of the premium engine makers for commercial airlines, Rolls Royce wants to minimize the aircraft ground time as much as possible. Besides ground time, the company also wants to improve the fuel efficiency of their engines. The amount of sensor data from engines has grown over the last 15 years.
Rolls Royce used Azure IoT Hub and other Microsoft products to solve their data aggregation problem. They needed the sensor data for preemptive maintenance to avoid ground time. Azure IoT Hub provided the solution for collecting and organizing the data. It is helping the airline industry save millions and keep their customers happy with a perfectly running fleet of aircraft.
Dirt can degrade engine performance and aircraft engines are power hungry. So even a slight improvement in energy consumption can lead to millions saved. Rolls Royce needed to analyze the sensor data to predict optimized engine cleaning times for better performance. However, the challenge was to distinguish the real data from the noise. Azure IoT Hub provided effective filtering methods to sift out the relevant data and helped Rolls Royce improve aircraft engine performance.
Vending Machine Finds the Cloud
A workplace vending machine has always served to provide food and drinks for the hardworking employees. However, with IoT in the picture, these machines are getting smarter. MARS DRINKS KLIX vending machines are able to collect data about a workplace to recommend better drinks. The company is part the MARS Incorporated food company that makes MARs, M&M, Snickers and other brand products. The company needed Microsoft help to implement their global vending machine solution.
MARS DRINKS uses the Azure IoT Hub to connect all their end points and gather data across companies and regions. It helps them optimize delivery routes and improve maintenance times. Through analyzing collected data, the company is even able to correlate popularity of particular products to weather patterns. IoT-based vending machines are helping the company serve their customers in a timely manner.
The Role of System Integrators in the IoT Space
From the above examples, it is evident that IoT is serving diverse industries and connecting all sorts of devices. It has made it easy to build connected products and optimize processes. However, IoT systems require an understanding of how to connect, secure, and manage devices and how to analyze the collected data. Large companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are providing the platform but there are no end-to-end solutions available. There is a good reason for it. IoT systems are unique to each business. So system integrators are helping businesses implement the end-to-end solutions using the power of tools like Azure IoT Hub and similar products.
Businesses are adopting IoT to automate tasks, improve efficiency, decrease cost and save money. The path to implementing an IoT system is both exciting and challenging. An experienced IoT system integrator can help you navigate the perils and find ways to improve your return on investment for your IoT devices.
Our IoT experts are great at finding out the solution that will work for your particular situation. Call us today to learn about exciting technologies like Azure IoT Hub, Azure IoT Edge and more. We can help you find the right solution.
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