Smart Solutions

Column Martin Grossen: Microsoft Azure – Connecting Stuff isn’t enough

By 2025, the amount of data on the Internet will reach 175 zettabytes according to Node-Graph, a multinational data intelligence platform. That much data would take one person 1.8 billion years to download at the fastest current Internet speeds. And now think of this: A single jet airplane engine generates around 20 terabytes of data per hour. So with two engines per plane and 200,000 planes in the air around the world for an average of four hours every day of the year, you end up with 12 zettabytes of data just from passenger airplanes. Now add billions of other IoT devices, from elevators in smart buildings to your connected coffee machine at your smart home, and you start to get a feeling for just what the impact of IoT on the world of data will be.There is simply no way corporations and organizations will be able to store these kinds of data locally. There is no alternative to the power of the cloud data centers – none! Microsoft for years has been following an interesting strategy in order to enable customers to connect IoT devices to the cloud in a simple but secure way and to provide them the tools like artificial intelligence and machine learning. They call it Azure, and we at Avnet Silica are actively partnering with Microsoft to make this happen. There are an awful lot of IoT devices already available to-day, from a simple connected button-battery sensor to high-end machines, PC-based gateways, or digital twins to provide sophisticated, real-time simulation models of just about everything. Getting all these devices to talk with each other is a huge challenge. Making this as simple as possible is crucial. Azure Plug & Play is such a solution – a very simple, effective way to connect stuff. That way, companies can focus on the data and what it tells them, in effect taking their value to the cloud.

There is no alternative to cloud data centers – none!

Martin Grossen
Supplier Business Manager at Avnet Silica, for Microsoft Europe

IoT and Microsoft Anzure: Martin Grossen Avnet Silica


But simply connecting stuff isn’t enough, of course. Companies also need to know how to set up cloud services and implement vital security protocols, as well as how to handle cryptographic keys and certificates. Working closely with Microsoft, we here at Avnet have developed a really cool solution called IoT Connect, a highly scalable solution based on Microsoft Azure to address all the common industry needs and challenges, especially scalability. After all, every cloud solution for every customer is unique. One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why the IoT Connect platform is a modular system that covers the connectivity, security, deployment, pro-visioning, up to database realization, cloud dashboards, and adaptation of further business data analytics. We think this is an excellent choice for companies that want to focus on their product, not on cloud development. Of course, Avnet is best known as one of the world’s leading distributors of components and sensors and stuff, and all this sounds very far away from our core business. But in fact, we have one great big exception in our line, and this is Microsoft. Together we make a perfect fit, because when we talk about IoT, we don’t always talk about hardware, sensors, or microcontrollers. We also need to talk about security standards and protocols. By joining Microsoft in developing solutions based on Azure at an early stage, we can both offer customers a better way to handle all those zettabytes of data – and make money in the process!

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