In what’s becoming a tech trend over the past few years, two giants of their own fields have teamed up to take advantage of the growth in one of the world’s hottest tech phenomena – the Internet of Things, or IoT.
Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure platform Azure, and communications leader AT&T have paired up to offer a starter kit for developers interested in building and implementing IoT systems.
The Internet of Things is essentially any network of interconnected devices that gather and aggregate field data that is stored on the cloud, then analysed and acted upon. For example, Whirlpool already works with IBM to gather data from their connected appliances across the United States to help provide the appliance maker usage insight so they can be more proactive with their service plans.
The partnership announced today involves Azure offering the security, infrastructure, analytics and visualization parts of the IoT equation, while AT&T will be linking their data storage utility – the M2X – and app management tool – Flow Designer – to Azure. The result is a platform with end-to-end capabilities to design and implement IoT systems.
Such partnerships were rare a few years ago because corporations tended to rely on their own resources rather than buddy-up with a potential rival. Today these synergies are witnessing the likes of Apple and Under Armour working with IBM on health and fitness analytics, Microsoft working with GE and now AT&T on IoT projects, and several top global companies bringing to the table their own special offering and partnering with other large companies to facilitate development in specific areas such as analytics, big data, IoT and so on.
One of the biggest benefits of moving your data to the cloud are the stringent security measures that providers put in place. Microsoft was recently give the highest-impact FedRAMP rating, which certifies cloud environments as being suitable for storing sensitive information from governmental agencies.
But possibly the biggest beneficiary of these couplings are the technologies themselves. The cloud industry, for example, is heavily dependent on enterprise companies trusting other enterprise companies with their data, which can often be highly sought-after targets for hackers, automated phishing attacks and so on.
This is a positive trend, where the world’s biggest companies are finally starting to work together instead of treating each other like business rivals to crush under their heels, and this is what will drive disruptive technologies like cloud and IoT.