Microsoft Supercharges Its Azure IoT Suite With New Upgrades, Capabilities For Partners

Microsoft is doubling down on its Azure Internet of Things Suite, introducing Wednesday a new set of connected capabilities for partners to tap into when building IoT solutions.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company, which touts its Azure IoT Suite as a cloud services-based approach to the market, hopes that the new features will help partners work with customers to more quickly plan and deploy IoT solutions.

"The Internet of Things is a huge growing area for us, and customers are realizing the business value that IoT can bring," Sam George, director of IoT at Microsoft, told CRN. "In addition to building out our partner ecosystem, we're putting a lot of focus on making things go faster and making it easier to get connected devices managed and deployed."

[Related: 7 Internet Of Things Devices With Security Risks That Solution Providers Can't Ignore]

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Microsoft used the IoT Solutions World Congress, which takes place this week in Barcelona, Spain, as a launch pad for its new Azure IoT certified device catalog.

This catalog helps partners work with customers to navigate through the 175 devices from the Azure Certified IoT program and select the best devices for their solution, as well as understand how devices connect to the internet, which sensors they work with, and the industry protocols they are capable of processing.

Microsoft also introduced an Internet of Things commercial gateway kit, which brings together Intel IoT gateway technology with Microsoft's Azure IoT and enables rapid prototyping in commercial gateway scenarios.

On the security front, Microsoft introduced the Security Program for Azure IoT, which provides third-party auditors who can come on-site to perform security audits from the ground up and examine business devices and assets to gateways, as well as communication to the cloud.

"The whole goal here is to provide an additional layer of security for customers who use our enterprise-grade security, but are also building solutions on top of that, and want to make sure they are secure," George said.

Reed Wiedower, chief technology officer at New Signature, a Microsoft partner based in Washington, D.C., said the IoT certified device catalog and commercial gateway kit would help partners who want to deploy their first IoT solution.

"In general, Microsoft is trying to get every partner in a position where they can explain to customers what the benefits of IoT really are," he said. "Microsoft over the last six months has been emphasizing buzzwords around digitization, and how that can provide benefits to companies. The more investment Microsoft makes in its suite of tools, the easier it is for partners to get started in IoT. "

The company also unveiled several updates to its IoT hub gateway software development kit and enhancements to its Azure IoT hub device management feature.

Moving forward, Microsoft said it is "committed to investing in technologies that simplify the life-cycle management of IoT and streamline the process of harnessing data for analysis from devices, at the edge, and in the cloud."