Microsoft claims that IoT Central will help companies build IoT applications in hours, without the need to learn new skills.
Enterprise software giant Microsoft has launched its public preview of IoT software-as-a-service (SaaS) product IoT Central, which it claims will allow companies worldwide to build production-grade IoT applications in hours without the need to manage back-end infrastructure or learn new skills.
Microsoft first unveiled the product back in April as an offering for those businesses that want to roll out IoT in their networks but don’t have in-house expertise. The SaaS product would integrate with Microsoft’s existing Azure IoT Suite, company executives said, helping customers to customize a network, as well as allowing complete control over it.
IoT needs grow
In a blog post, Sam George, director of Azure IoT, suggested that the product lets enterprises scale from a few connected devices to millions as their IoT needs grow.
“Moreover, it removes guesswork thanks to simple and comprehensive pricing that makes it easier for you to plan your IoT investments and achieve your IoT goals,” he said.
From a security perspective, Microsoft IoT Central has privacy features such as role-based access and integration with Azure Active Directory permissions, and from an integration point of view, the SaaS offering will soon be able to integrate with customers’ existing business systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP and Salesforce.
Several of Microsoft’s customers have already started building their own applications with Microsoft IoT Central.
“Microsoft’s IoT Central solution helped us pilot in weeks, at minimal cost, a public school environmental monitoring solution that would have taken a year to develop from scratch,” said Jeff Reed, PhD, vice president of the Microsoft Global Alliance at electronics distribution company Arrow Electronics. “School and government officials can now monitor and improve the safety of public spaces without the cost and duration of typical IoT projects.”
Meanwhile Nate Hill, principal architect at medical supplies business Patterson Dental, said that Microsoft IoT Central provides “a highly configurable and intuitive solution to define the criteria needed to monitor and diagnose any variety of connected devices”.
“This in turn equips Patterson service technicians with current and past performance data, allowing them to transition from a reactive stance to one that is proactive and results in higher levels of customer satisfaction,” he said.
Azure IoT Hub
Microsoft has also announced the availability of Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service.
“Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service enables zero-touch device provisioning and configuration of millions of devices to Azure IoT Hub in a secure and scalable manner,” explained George.
“Device Provisioning Service adds important capabilities that, together with Azure IoT Hub device management, help customers easily manage all stages of the IoT device lifecycle,” he added.