It's no longer the 'Internet of Things'. It's the 'Internet of Your Things'. At least that's Microsoft's new catchphrase for the phenomenon of all things digital and connected.
The tech giant has rebranded the Internet of Things (IOT) as it embarks on a new direction to be device agnostic in connecting our everyday devices and utilities.
Launching its vision for the IOT future – the Microsoft Azure Intelligent System Service – Barb Edson, general manager of marketing for Microsoft's commercial IOT offerings, said: “People are excited about IOT, but they are confused and don't know what to do about it.
“Lots of companies are talking about the 'internet of everything' but at Microsoft we view it as the 'internet of your things' – the question is how to connect the devices people already have. It's a unique point-of-view.”
Edson, visiting Microsoft's offices in North Ryde, Sydney, from the States, said Microsoft's ambition in launching the Azure system is to “start small and begin by connecting the devices people already have”. “We need to connect to existing devices and leverage the data that's already existing there,” she said.
To do this, the digital giant is accepting it's not just a Windows world. “It's a cross-platform world,” said Edson. “There are all kinds of different devices that are not run on intelligent operating systems or the Windows operating system. So, we have to support all platforms. It's a refreshing approach from Microsoft.”
The Microsoft Azure Intelligent System Service is a cloud-based platform to link together a business's entire collection of tools, technologies and online services.
The London Underground is one of the first cabs off the rank in using the system. It brings all the systems and technology already in use around the underground together, managed under one roof.
The system, created by Microsoft in partnership with Telent and CGI, features social feeds showing what's happening in London, a map of the underground, the status of each line and the current weather. It also drills down into each station, showing live camera footage, things like current temperature, and any alerts such as if an escalator has a fault, as well as predictive maintenance which picks up any minor faults that could lead to bigger issues. Tickets can be created and sent to the relevant maintenance person, and progress tracked. And every member of staff can log on to the system and see the content that's relevant to them.
John Doyle, director of product management at Microsoft, said: “Disconnected systems can be connected and automated under one system, connecting thousands of devices and pieces of data. It's a 130-year-old business moving forward to connect up all its assets.”
Here's a summary of the London Underground system:
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