Oct 30,2019

IoT Trends & Opportunities: Microsoft Partners Weigh In

Internet of Things (IoT) adoption rates are continuing to accelerate across every industry—from retail to manufacturing to agriculture to healthcare. According to the recent Microsoft IoT Signals report, 88% of businesses consider IoT to be very critical or somewhat critical to their success, and 85% of decision makers from enterprise organizations have adopted IoT.

New Zealand is no exception, with more and more businesses implementing IoT solutions to streamline operations, improve workplace safety, and boost revenue. “New Zealand has always been at the forefront of technology,” says Jeff Feldman of EY. “IoT…represents one of the major drivers in New Zealand at the moment, with impacts across a number of industries such as transport, rail and manufacturing.”  Of course, this creates plenty of opportunities for Microsoft partners. We recently asked IoT in Action attendees to weigh in on new and emerging IoT opportunities and trends. here’s what they had to say.  

Focus on simple, secure solutions

Microsoft partners emphasized this theme time and again: when it comes to IoT, edge-to-cloud simplicity and security are a must. Our research agrees, with 39% of IoT Signals respondents noting that challenges stemming from complexity and technical aspects was their biggest barrier to IoT adoption.

To this end, Microsoft continues to make it easier to build and use IoT solutions. The new IoT Plug and Play provides an open modeling language that enables developers to quickly and seamlessly connect IoT devices to the cloud, without writing a single line of embedded code. Solutions like Azure IoT Central and Azure IoT Hub enable businesses to prototype and build larger scale IoT deployments in significantly less time.

Simpler solutions increase time to value for customers. According to Jeff Feldman, “EY brings a balanced approach to emerging technology with deep industry experiences, global solutions, and a learn-fast approach with clients. The result has enabled us to work with clients to deliver business value in days and weeks, not months….”

Infuse solutions with silicon-to-cloud security

In speaking to our partners, we also found that while security is not often cited as a barrier to IoT adoption, it still remains a top priority. This lines up with IoT Signals data, where just 19% of respondents listed security as their biggest barrier to adoption, while 97% said they were concerned about security when adopting IoT.

Building security into every part of an IoT solution is essential for minimizing risks to private data, business assets, and a company’s reputation. “Understand the risks to your business and take steps at the design phase to address not just cyber security but data ownership and governance,” advises Peter Williams, Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited.

You can also simplify IoT security by taking advantage of built-in protection at each stage of deployment – including cloud services and devices – and minimizing security weaknesses wherever they exist.

Microsoft has always prioritized security and provides secure “silicone-to-cloud” IoT solutions. Azure Sphere is a comprehensive IoT solution that includes the hardware, OS, and cloud components partners need to securely connect IoT devices. The new guardian module enables secure cloud connectivity to existing equipment to unlock new customer experiences and business models as well as operational efficiency.

Prioritize actionable, real-time insights

IoT solutions only solve challenges if customers can manage the data and obtain insights that help them achieve their business objectives. Partners emphasized the importance of basing insights on real-time data.

An excellent example right here in New Zealand is Blackhills Farm, which uses SCADAfarm to remotely monitor and operate irrigators and pumps. This IoT solution uses real-time data to enable quick adjustments to irrigation based on rain, wind, heat, and other conditions in order to conserve water and increase feed-crop yields.

Tap the Microsoft partner ecosystem to accelerate solutions

Partners also stressed the importance of accelerating IoT solutions for customers, who are racing against competitors to capture market share. Of course, development speed cannot come at the expense of quality and security. Which is why Microsoft offers plenty of solutions to accelerate development time.

But in addition to solutions you need expertise. Microsoft has cultivated a deeply talented and diverse partner ecosystem to help facilitate partner-to-partner connections. Through strategic collaboration, partners can decrease time to market for IoT solutions and take advantage of valuable co-sell opportunities. Additionally, by using the first- and third-party accelerators designed for Microsoft Azure, partners can leverage existing building blocks to fast-track IoT projects. Peter Williams of Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited advises, “Choose a good partner that is willing to take the time to understand your problems and collaborate on a solution.”

IoT in Action comes to Auckland November 5

IoT solutions aren’t just about the technology. At the core, IoT solves people’s problems and challenges. And successfully developing or implementing those solutions requires relationships with partners, vendors, and device makers. 

One of the best ways to build these relationships, while learning more about the latest IoT advancements and opportunities, is to attend an IoT in Action event. According to Jeff Feldman, “IoT in Action is one of the most important events here in the Asia-Pacific region as it brings together a diverse representation of customers, vendors, and SIs….”

Join us November 5 for the IoT in Action event in Auckland to start building business partnerships, optimizing efficiencies, and maximizing revenue opportunities. You’ll hear from Jeff Feldman, Peter Williams, and other partners who will share their latest IoT successes and learnings. You’ll also be able to hear from and talk to a host of Microsoft IoT subject matter experts.

For additional insights into how partners are developing and deploying IoT technology across industries, watch our short, actionable IoT in Action webinars.

Learn how we can accelerate your business. Visit the Microsoft NZ Partner Hub at https://aka.ms/nzpartnerhub