Microsoft Acquires IoT Company Solair To Power Azure IoT Suite

  • Microsoft has acquired Solair, an Italian company specialized in Internet of Things (IoT) services for the enterprise.
  • Solair’s technology will be integrated into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite to enhance Microsoft's IoT offering for the enterprise.
  • Microsoft is betting big on cloud services for the enterprise, and the Azure cloud computing platform is a key part of Microsoft's strategy.

Microsoft Corporation (NSDQ:MSFT) has acquired Solair, an Italian company specialized in Internet of Things (IoT) services for the enterprise in a number of industries, including manufacturing, retail, food, and transportation. Solair’s IoT customization and deployment solutions, built on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, are engineered to help businesses in any industry utilize IoT to run more efficiently and profitably.

"Solair shares our ambition for helping customers harness their untapped data and create new intelligence with IoT, and this acquisition supports our strategy to deliver the most complete IoT offering for enterprises," said Sam George, Partner Director for Azure IoT. "We’re excited about their technology and talent – and delighted to welcome them to the Microsoft team."

The IoT is the upcoming network of billions of permanently online, connected devices able to exchange information with data servers and other connected devices, and coordinate their operations autonomously or semi-autonomously with limited human intervention. In the IoT world, you will finally be able to google the keys that you have lost somewhere: physical objects will carry embedded computers that will manage their functions, automatically connect to the Internet via WiFi and cellular data networks, and execute queries and commands.

"The integration of Solair’s technology into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite will continue to enhance our complete IoT offering for the enterprise," added George. "We’ll have more specifics to share about how Solair is helping us build the intelligent cloud in the future. In the meantime, I’d like to reiterate my welcome to the Solair team."

The Microsoft Azure IoT Suite is a set of cloud-based services built on Microsoft's cloud computing platform Azure. "With the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, you can monitor assets to improve efficiencies, drive operational performance to enable innovation, and employ advance data analytics to transform your company with new business models and revenue streams," states Microsoft's documentation. "IoT is here today. And it starts with your things.
IoT is not just a futuristic technology trend. It can make a real difference right now. Rather than think about IoT as billions of devices and sensors connecting to systems and the cloud, think about it as the Internet of Your Things."

The Solair product family, to be integrated in the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, consists of three IoT solutions: IoT Products Suite: a set of 7 software modules to model and manage the most popular IoT applications; IoT Platform: a flexible, scalable and totally customizable application platform; and IoT Gateway: a hardware device that optimizes the data collection and transmission to the Cloud. "We intend to achieve better business through IoT," states the Solair website. "Our goal is to address business needs through the delivery of best-in-breed and end-to-end IoT solutions, ingrained in our commitment to realize our customers’ vision."

Microsoft is betting big on cloud computing and cloud services for the enterprise, which is a key part of Microsoft's strategy. In November, Microsoft acquired Metanautix, a company specialized in data management for business analytics, to pursue an "intelligent cloud" strategy. In September, Microsoft acquired Adallom, an Israeli cloud security company focused on enhancing data security as enterprise data and processes migrate to the cloud. In November 2014, the Redmond giant bought another Israel-based cyber security company, Aorato, developer of a software solution to monitor access to central communication components in enterprise IT systems.

"From the very start, our mission has been to help customers quickly and easily gain access to the huge benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT)," said Solair CEO Tom Davis. "By building our solutions based on real customer requirements that allow them to gain real value, I’m confident that Solair’s technology and talent will be able to make an important contribution to Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Microsoft’s broader IoT ambitions."

According to Gartner, the IoT will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22 percent from 2015. The number of connected devices in use globally will quadruple by 2020 to over 20 billion. In terms of hardware spending, consumer applications will amount to $546 billion in 2016, while the use of connected things in the enterprise will drive $868 billion in 2016.

Other top tech companies that are betting on the growth of the IoT include IBM (NYSE:IBM), which is developing a framework to bring connected cars to the IoT cloud, General Electric (NYSE:GE), with a renewed focus on the IoT-enabled Industrial Internet, and Cisco (NSDQ:CSCO), which recently announced its intent to acquire Jasper Technologies, Inc., a privately held company that develops a cloud-based IoT service platform.

The Microsoft move sits right at the intersection of two powerful trends: cloud computing and IoT. Both trends, and their combination, are revolutionizing the sector of enterprise computing and can be expected to be adopted by more and more clients and generate handsome profits in the next few years, which is good news for Microsoft investors.

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