Microsoft isn't wasting much time in its pivot from Windows to a much broader world involving AI, machine learning, and the Internet of Things. Today, on the company's IoT blog, Corporate Vice President Julia White announced a $5 billion investment in IoT over the next four years. The Redmond company is seeing the kind of "increased adoption and exponential growth that analysts have been forecasting for years, and we're just getting started," White writes. One of those analysts, A.T. Kearney, is predicting that IoT will lead to "a $1.9 trillion productivity increase and $177 billion in reduced costs by 2020."
A number of Microsoft partners have already been using the company's IoT offerings, which today already include operating systems for IoT devices, cloud services, advanced analytics, and business applications (like Power BI). White calls out a number of these early adopter companies:
Companies like Steelcase, Kohler, Chevron, United Technologies and Johnson Controls are all innovating with Microsoft’s IoT platform, launching new products, solutions and services that transform their business.
Johnson Controls has transformed the humble thermostat into a smart device that can monitor a range of conditions to optimize building temperatures automatically. Schneider Electric has built a solution to harness solar energy in Nigeria and using our IoT platform to do maintenance remotely on the panels, quite literally to keep the lights on. Kohler has created a new line of intelligent kitchen and bath fixtures that are not only luxurious to use, but more economical as well. The Alaska Department of Transportation is working with Colorado-based Fathym to build smart roadways that monitor weather conditions and can alert drivers and state officials about treacherous conditions.
While some have been lamenting "the death of Windows," Microsoft is poised to be at the forefront of what may be the next big wave in computing, where devices, controls and companies are no longer "dark," and everything from cows to sprinklers to thermostats are connected and intelligent. Stay tuned, there's lots more to come in the world of IoT!