Category Archives : Internet of Things



Making buildings smarter with Azure IoT
Making buildings smarter with Azure IoT

Commercial real estate developers, building owners, facilities management companies, and tenants have a huge opportunity to address, and solve for, the unique business challenges faced by their industry, by applying the Internet of Things (IoT) to buildings. For example, by leveraging data from IoT sensors and building management systems, companies can gain insights that enable them to save energy, reduce operational expenses, increase occupant comfort, and optimize space.

However, the COVID-19 crisis has presented a new set of challenges for developers, owners, and management companies. New forecasts show the smart building market size growing between 7.3 percent and 11.6 percent annually to overall market revenues of between $65.2 billion and $82.7 billion USD in 2025.1

Smart buildings also help companies meet regulations for tracking and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Let’s look at how Bosch Building Technologies, Bentley Systems, Schneider Electric, and ICONICS use Azure IoT to deliver the benefits of smart buildings.

Decreasing energy requirements

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates that implementing smart building technology in an existing building can result in energy savings of 30–50 percent.2 For example, companies can combine data from occupancy sensors with data from HVAC and lighting systems to lower room




Azure Digital Twins: Powering the next generation of IoT connected solutions

Last month at Microsoft Build 2020, we announced the new features for Azure Digital Twins, the IoT platform that enables the creation of next-generation IoT connected solutions that model the real world. Today, we are announcing that these updated capabilities are now available in preview. Using the power of IoT, businesses have gained unprecedented insights into their assets. But as connected solutions continue to evolve, companies are looking for ways to create richer models of entire business environments, which is quite challenging even for sophisticated businesses.

Our goal with Azure Digital Twins is to make the creation of sophisticated digital twin solutions easy. is to make the creation of sophisticated digital twin solutions easy. With today’s announcement, you can apply your domain expertise on top of Azure Digital Twins to design and build comprehensive digital models of entire environments.

Using Azure Digital Twins, you can gain insights that drive better products, optimization of operations, cost reduction, and breakthrough customer experiences. And you can now do so across environments of all types, including buildings, factories, farms, energy networks, railways, stadiums—even entire cities.

What’s new?

We received a lot of valuable feedback from the Azure Digital Twins preview and we are




Town of Cary innovates flood prediction with IoT

This post was co-authored by Daniel Sumner, Worldwide Industry Director, Government—Smart Infrastructure at Microsoft.

According to Flood Safety, flooding is the most common type of natural disaster worldwide. It affects tens of millions of people around the world each year and causes, on average, more than $200 billion in damages. Many communities face flood-related challenges, and the Town of Cary in North Carolina, United States, is no different. Its flood-prone areas are affected by heavy rains, which are often exacerbated by the yearly Atlantic hurricane season. When the town sees excessive rainfall, its personnel often find themselves scrambling to address overflowing stormwater systems, but even a burst water main can create a spontaneous flood event.

Town of Cary parking lot during a flood event.

As a leader in innovative city solutions, the Town of Cary was already committed to using smart technology, data, and analytics to optimize city functions, drive economic growth, and improve the quality of life. Chief Information Officer, Nicole Raimundo, Smart City Strategist, Terry Yates, and Stormwater Operations Manager, Billy Lee, saw another opportunity: use technology to predict and manage flood events.

Envisioning a flood prediction solution

In October 2019, Cary’s leaders met with partners Microsoft




Introducing live video analytics from Azure Media Services—now in preview

Azure Media Services is pleased to announce the preview of a new platform capability called Live Video Analytics, or in short, LVA. LVA provides a platform for you to build hybrid applications with video analytics capabilities. The platform offers the capability of capturing, recording, and analyzing live video and publishing the results (which could be video and/or video analytics) to Azure Services in the cloud and/or the edge.

With this announcement, the LVA platform is now available as an Azure IoT Edge module via the Azure Marketplace. The module, referred to as, “Live Video Analytics on IoT Edge” is built to run on a Linux x86-64 edge device in your business location. This enables you to build IoT solutions with video analytics capabilities, without worrying about the complexity of designing, building, and operating a live video pipeline.

LVA is designed to be a “pluggable” platform, so you can integrate video analysis modules, whether they are custom edge modules built by you with open source machine learning models, custom models trained with your own data (using Azure Machine Learning or other equivalent services) or Microsoft Cognitive Services containers. You can combine LVA functionality with other Azure edge modules such as Stream




Azure Maps Creator now available in preview

As enterprises continue to evolve in their digital transformation journey, there is a need for augmenting Azure Maps content with project-specific and private business knowledge of places. Today we’re launching Azure Maps Creator in preview to extend location intelligence to indoor spaces.

Enterprises are taking advantage of Azure Maps capabilities to optimize business operations and transform their business strategy using location and map services. With IoT-powered systems delivering new and more accurate data than ever before, defining new patterns for taking advantage of location data findings is essential. Creator includes a new set of capabilities that allow an enterprise to securely create and use indoor maps that dynamically change as new events in spaces occur. The data is not used to improve Azure Maps, customers own and are in full control of the created map content, including defining how to secure access using Azure Maps authentication and authorization options. You can develop solutions for the general public or for selected authenticated users for virtually any indoor space such as offices, stores, factories, and hospitals for facility management, occupant and guest experiences, productivity tools, and more.

Azure Maps provides SDKs to easily build web and mobile applications with location and map




Virtual Build spotlights IoT updates and rollouts

As people around the globe adapt to new ways of working, the Microsoft Build 2020 conference took a new approach as well. Rather than gathering the developer community in person as planned, Microsoft shifted gears and put together 48 hours of streaming content for a virtual event.

Despite the new format, Microsoft Build’s goals remained the same: Connect our developers with the best of Microsoft so they can bring their ideas to life. For IoT, that included a lot of new innovations and training for developers, all geared toward simplifying IoT and empowering developers to build new breakthrough solutions.

On the training side, we’re especially excited to launch a new IoT certification to help build skills in the community and unlock the creativity of developers. We’ve also added some industry-leading capabilities with an all-new Azure Digital Twins release that can model just about any scenario.

Below is a roundup of the key news. I encourage you to click down into the individual announcements for more detail, and if you weren’t able to virtually attend the Microsoft Build conference, access the sessions online.

New IoT certification for developers

One of the biggest challenges for developers building IoT applications is acquiring the skills to




Accelerating digital transformation in manufacturing

Digital transformation in manufacturing has the potential to increase annual global economic value by $4.5 trillion according to the IDC MarketScape.iWith so much upside, manufacturers are looking at how technologies like IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to optimize supply chains, improve factory performance, accelerate product innovation, and enhance service offerings.

Digital transformation starts by collecting data from machines on the plant floor, assets in the supply chain, or products being used by customers. This data can be combined with other business data and then modeled and analyzed to gain actionable insights.

Let’s take a look at three manufacturers—Festo, Kao, and AkzoNobel—and see how each one is using technologies like IoT, machine learning, and AI to accelerate their digital transformation.

Providing predictive maintenance as a service

Based in Germany, Festo sells electric and pneumatic drive solutions to 300,000 customers in 176 countries. The company’s goal is to increase uptime for customers by providing predictive maintenance offerings as software as a service (SaaS) offerings. Festo’s strategy is to connect machines to the cloud with Azure IoT and then enable customers to visualize data along the entire value chain.

One of the first SaaS offerings is Festo




Accelerating innovation: Start with Azure Sphere to secure IoT solutions

From agriculture to healthcare, IoT unlocks opportunity across every industry, delivering profound returns, such as increased productivity and efficiency, reduced costs, and even new business models. And with a projected 41.6 billion IoT connected devices by 2025, momentum continues to build.

While IoT creates new opportunities, it also brings new cybersecurity challenges that could potentially result in stolen IP, loss of brand trust, downtime, and privacy breaches. In fact, 97 percent of enterprises rightfully call out security as a key concern when adopting IoT. But when organizations have a reliable foundation of security on which they can build from the start, they can realize durable innovation for their business versus having to figure out what IoT device security requires and how to achieve it.

Read on to learn how you can use Azure Sphere—now generally available—to create and accelerate secure IoT solutions for both new devices and existing equipment. As you look to transform your business, discover why IoT security is so important to build in from the start and see how the integration of Azure Sphere has enabled other companies to focus on innovation. For a more in-depth discussion, be sure to watch the Azure Sphere general availability webinar.




New Azure RTOS collaborations with leaders in the semiconductor industry

IoT is reaching mainstream adoption across businesses in all market segments. Our vision is to enable Azure to be the world’s computer, giving businesses real-time visibility into every aspect of their operations, assets, and products. Businesses are harnessing signals from IoT devices of all shapes and sizes, from the very smallest microcontroller units (MCUs) to very capable microprocessor units (MPUs). This presents a great opportunity for collaboration between semiconductor manufacturers with extensive expertise in MCUs/MPUs and Azure IoT, an industry leader in IoT.

It has been nearly one year since we acquired Express Logic and their popular ThreadX RTOS, and last year we announced Azure RTOS that provides customers those capabilities with the leading real-time operating system (RTOS) in the industry.

Today, we’re announcing additional collaborations with industry leaders, which together represent the vast majority of the market for 32-bit MCUs. Their MCUs are embedded into billions of devices from sensors, streetlights, and shipping containers to smart home appliances, medical devices, and more.

STMicroelectronics, Renesas, NXP, Microchip, and Qualcomm will all offer embedded development kits featuring Azure RTOS ThreadX, one of the components of the Azure RTOS embedded application development suite. This allows embedded developers to access reliable, real-time performance




IoT Signals energy report: Embracing transparent, affordable, and sustainable energy

The increased use of renewables, resiliency challenges, and sustainability concerns are all disrupting the energy industry today. New technologies are accelerating the way we source, store, and distribute energy. With IoT, we can gain new insights about the physical world that enables us to optimize and create more efficient processes, reduce energy waste, and track specific consumption. This is a great opportunity for IoT to support power and utilities (P&U) companies across grid assets, electric vehicles, energy optimization, load balancing, and emissions monitoring.

We’ve recently published a new IoT Signals report focused on the P&U industry. The report provides an industry pulse on the state of IoT adoption to help inform us how to better serve our partners and customers, as well as help energy companies develop their own IoT strategies. We surveyed global decision-makers in P&U organizations to deliver an industry-level view of the IoT ecosystem, including adoption rates, related technology trends, challenges, and benefits of IoT.

The study found that while IoT is almost universally adopted in P&U, it comes with complexity. Companies are commonly deploying IoT to improve the efficiency of operations and employee productivity, but can be challenged by skills and knowledge shortages, privacy and security