Azure Internet of Things Helps Service Providers Connect Devices & Systems Intelligently

IoT Solutions Open New Lines of Business, Leverage Data & Create Workflow Efficienciess

Businesses of all sizes today are leveraging the powers of the Internet of Things (IoT). This is because IoT is great at helping to establish a connection between devices and systems. However, more than anything else it is creating new opportunities for new lines of business, more efficiencies, and harnessing the power of data. Because of this, IT service providers must become more educated on the opportunities created by IoT so they can design and implement new solutions that take their clients’ businesses to the next level.

IoT is an eye-opener for many business executives. According to a recent Forbes Insights survey of 700 executives, 60% of enterprises are, with the help of their IoT initiatives, expanding or transforming with new lines of business, while 36% are considering potential new business directions. In addition, 63% are already delivering new or updated services directly to customers thanks to their IoT capabilities.

Leveraging IoT has certainly emerged from simply a connectivity initiative to a digital transformation strategy, and has proven results, including increased profitability. When IoT is powered by Microsoft Azure tools, IT service providers enjoy a win-win scenario helping to expand their business with satisfied end-user clients.

The Azure IoT is described as “a collection of Microsoft-managed cloud services that connect, monitor, and control billions of IoT assets. In simpler terms, an IoT solution is made up of one or more IoT devices and one or more back-end services running in the cloud that communicate with each other.”

Microsoft says that devices are generally made up of a circuit board with sensors attached that connect to the internet. Many of these devices communicate via a Wi-Fi chip, and it lists the following as examples of IoT devices:

  • pressure sensors on a remote oil pump
  • temperature and humidity sensors in an air-conditioning unit
  • accelerometers in an elevator
  • presence sensors in a room

Two devices that are frequently used for prototyping are the basic MX Chip IoT Devkit from Microsoft and Raspberry PI devices. The MX Chip Devkit has sensors built in for temperature, pressure, humidity, as well as a gyroscope and accelerometer, a magnetometer and a Wi-Fi chip. Raspberry PI is an IoT device to which you can attach many different kinds of sensors, so you can select exactly what you need for your scenario.

Following are specific applications where Azure IoT devices and solutions are elevating business results:

More Data, More Opportunity: Business areas that have seen new ventures or expansion include preventive maintenance, automatic product upgrades or updates, and the tracking and tracing of assets. These sensors are helping companies understand how operations are flowing. Data is then used to help these organizations gain additional visibility into the performance of systems and processes.

New Lines of Business: Azure IoT also helps create new opportunities for expanded business uses. Organizations that manufacture products can also offer continuous services to monitor the performance of these products as a result of data that capture predictive maintenance trends. IoT also enables these companies to share this performance data across different departments for added executive visibility and decision-making.

Greater Efficiencies: The expansion of IoT across various parts of the enterprise and its global ecosystems means enhanced digitization of processes, and this helps drive down costs and increase speed to market.

Here is a collection of Azure-based IoT solutions that IT service providers can employ to help build the right solution for their end-user client:

  1. IoT Central: An IoT application platform that simplifies the creation of IoT solutions and helps to reduce the burden and cost of IoT management operations, and development.
  2. IoT solution accelerators: A collection of PaaS solutions service providers can use to accelerate the development of an IoT solution.
  3. IoT Hub: Allows service providers and their clients to connect from devices to an IoT hub and monitor and control billions of IoT devices.
  4. IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service: This is a helper service for IoT Hub that can be used to provision devices to the IoT hub securely.
  5. IoT Edge: This service builds on top of IoT Hub. It can be used to analyze data on the IoT devices rather than in the cloud.
  6. Azure Digital Twins: Enables service providers to create comprehensive models of the physical environment where they can model the relationships and interactions between people, spaces, and devices.
  7. Time Series Insights: This service enables service providers to store, visualize, and query large amounts of time series data generated by IoT devices.
  8. Azure Maps: This service provides geographic information to web and mobile applications.

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