Microsoft's vision involves sensor data from IoT devices being processed across a distributed computing infrastructure from the edge to Azure. Microsoft plans to invest $5bn in the internet of things (IoT) over the next four years.
The company regards the intelligent edge as its the next frontier in computing, and its CEO Satya Nadella has previously spoken of how he sees computing becoming more distributed, from IoT devices on the edge into the cloud.
"Our investments in IoT, data and AI [artificial intelligence] services across cloud and the edge position us to further accelerate growth," said Nadella, during the earnings call for Microsoft's Q2 2018 results.
The firm's ambition is to create a software and hardware ecosystem that spans distributed computing infrastructure, from edge devices and sensors to the services in the Azure public cloud that collect and analyse this data, and run machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics.
Its current products include the Azure IoT suite, Dynamics for Field Service and the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform.
In a blog post announcing the new IoT investment, Microsoft senior vice-president for Azure Julia Whyte wrote: "Our goal is to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions."
She said the increased investment would support continued innovation in the Microsoft technology platform, as well as supporting programs.
"We will continue research and development in key areas, including securing IoT, creating development tools and intelligent services for IoT and the edge, and investments to grow our partner ecosystem," said Whyte.
She added that through this investment Microsoft would be extending its IoT products, services, resources and programmes.
"Today, we're planning to dedicate even more resources to research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge," said Whyte.
The company is repositioning itself to serve the needs of organisations and consumers in the connected world, with its IoT platform spanning cloud, operating system and devices.
Whyte said: "We are uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey so any customer regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world."
Organisations using the Microsoft IoT platform include Steelcase, Kohler, Chevron, United Technologies and Johnson Controls.
Source: Computer Weekly