Posted By Kevin Dallas
I just returned from a holiday (or vacation, if you’re an American) and noticed that my old English friend, Oxford Dictionary, is catching up to the times. No, I’m not talking about the addition of the “emoji,” but rather their recognition of the “Internet of Things” or IoT.
Here at Microsoft, we’ve been talking about IoT for a while. Just over two years ago we introduced intelligent systems, which is really how enterprises take advantage of the Internet of Things. When “smart” things are connected to data analysis, the resulting intelligence can redefine the ways in which we do business. Company executives are already bringing intelligent systems, powered by Microsoft, into healthcare facilities, onto the factory floor and even on to the streets of Paris.
More recently, we made Windows Embedded Compact 2013 generally available, started releasing Windows Embedded 8.1 to hardware partners and expanded the resources available to our partners by integrating the Windows Embedded Partner Program with the Microsoft Partner Network.
So, while we’re gratified to see formal recognition of the Internet of Things, I have to take issue with one part of the dictionary’s definition: the use of the word “proposed” as in, The Internet of Things is “a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.”
It may be the early days, but there is nothing proposed about the Internet of Things. It is here right now. It is happening today. Together with our partners around the world, we’re lighting up devices and enabling new services every day. Smart companies are working with Internet-connected devices today to make a difference in how they run their businesses and serve customers.
For evidence of its potential, look no further than ARM’s recent acquisition of Sensinode Oy, a provider of software for the Internet of Things. Gartner also weighed in earlier this summer, recommending that CIOs not ignore the untapped business opportunities of IOT. And today, a company in Germany unveiled a small module that transforms old kitchen appliances into smarter, connected devices that help consumers reduce their monthly power bill.
At Microsoft we’ve seen some recent developments with IoT that solve some of the hardest problems in a number of industries.
If you’ve ever been in the hospital, even if it’s just there with a loved one, one of the hardest things to see is when they are uncomfortable or in pain, and waiting for the prescription to come in from the pharmacy. At Great River Medical Center, in West Burlington, Iowa, they worked with Omnicell to turn the typical pharmacy dispensing process into their own version of the IoT. Individual doses are automatically tracked and distributed, reducing costly medical errors, improving reporting processes and, most importantly, getting patients their medication within 30 minutes of a doctor’s orders being written.
In France’s beautiful capital city, it’s easy to find art, history, or a café, but one of the hardest things to find is something sought after in many downtown areas: a parking space. We worked with our partners, IER and AutoLib to help the City of Paris create an auto sharing system that allows for a cost effective, eco-friendly commute, with the added benefit of a parking space.
And in Toledo, Ohio, the Kuka Systems Group operates an automated assembly line of 246 robots, 60,000 devices and multiple applications and back-end systems. One PC then adjusts the configuration of the robots based on the orders it receives every day from Chrysler. The result: this factory now cranks out a Jeep Wrangler body every 82 seconds with almost continuous uptime.
Each of these solutions is impressive in its own right, and is testament to the fact that the Internet of Things is already here. And with Windows Embedded, business leaders are turning their existing technology investments into actionable, operational intelligence and insight. I believe that the smartest companies are no longer limited by technology; they are only limited by their imagination.
Companies that wait, and assume IoT and the intelligent systems they enable are still “proposed,” will find themselves left in the dust as more progressive companies forge ahead.
Experts that follow the industry agree. Analyst firm Gartner issued two reports assessing technology firms and essentially positioned Microsoft in a well-defined place. Take that, Oxford!
Have a look and you’ll agree, the Internet of Things is already here. We’d love to hear your thoughts.