Microsoft is currently at Hannover Messe 2016, the world’s largest industrial technology fair, to show off how its solutions for companies trying to build ecosystems for interconnected services, people, and things. Yesterday, Satya Nadella explained in his keynote address how digital transformation is pushing manufacturing to evolve:
A digital transformation is remaking companies and their factories, bringing the intersection of manufacturing and technology even closer. Enabling that transformation are systems of intelligence that help companies gain insight and take action from big data, optimize their operations and change the very nature of the business models around their industrial products.
But with Windows 10, Microsoft claims that it has developed a "platform for the Intelligence Revolution" that will allow its partners to build universal applications that work on devices of many shapes and capabilities running on a secure operating system. To demonstrate the value proposition of Windows 10, Microsoft has worked with several partners that leveraged Microsoft solutions in innovative ways.
First, Microsoft partnered with engineering services firm IAV to integrate Windows 10 Continuum feature into automated cars. Both companies are imagining a scenario where passengers could be able to stream Windows 10 directly to their car dashboard to access important data and services on the road such as Cortana, Skype for Business, Calendar, Outlook, and Groove Music. Microsoft added that the solution could be enabled with a Windows notebook, tablet, or smartphone.
Manufacturer of aeronautical engines, Rolls-Royce, is also working with Microsoft to integrate the Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite to improve the current and next generation of Rolls-Royce intelligent engines. Using Microsoft offerings, the manufacturer hopes to improve their operational performance and reduce engine maintenance costs. Startup SM!GHT has also leveraged Microsoft Azure to develop “Smart City Lights” featuring Wi-Fi hotspots, e-Mobility charging stations, an SOS-Button and environmental sensors to analyse pollution, temperature, humidity and traffic congestion. Cities could use this data to optimize traffic, improve air quality and makes commuters happier.
Liebherr Group is also working on pharmaceutical refrigerators and freezers that use Windows IoT and Azure Stream analytics to predict potential breakdowns. Thanks to Microsoft machine intelligence, service tickets will be generated automatically to fix the problems right away, which is vital as these devices are used to store sensitive content such as medical supplies.
Finally, driveline and chassis technology expert ZF Services and connectivity specialist Openmatics developed a dashboard on a Windows 10 universal app powered by Microsoft Azure provide intelligent fleet management. The dashboard collects real-time data using tags attached to a customer’s cargo, providing real-time insights to truck and bus fleet managers as well as customers wanting to know the transit status of their goods.
While Microsoft believes that the digital revolution is clearly pushing the industry forward, intelligence and big data will also impact employees and customers as Satya Nadella explained:
“It changes how you will engage with your customers, how you in fact empower your own employees inside every one of your organizations to be able to gain insight from big data, take action from big data, and to optimize your operations and change the very nature of the business models around your industrial products.”