Microsoft announced today that it will invest $5 billion in Internet of Things (IoT) research and innovation over the next four years.
“As our world becomes more connected, IoT and the intelligent edge are playing a critical role in advancing breakthroughs in areas like healthcare, transportation, agriculture, energy and more,” a Microsoft representative told me.
The timing here is interesting: As I noted yesterday in Windows, Diminished, Microsoft is signaling to the world that it is moving to an “intelligent cloud and intelligent edge” future in which the volume of devices on the edge will, in fact, be IoT devices. This coincides nicely with Microsoft’s pursuit of “the next wave” in the wake of its earlier defeat in mobile.
“We’re planning to dedicate even more resources to research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge,” Microsoft Julia White explains. “With our IoT platform spanning cloud, OS and devices, we are uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey so any customer—regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors—can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world.”
What this looks like in concrete terms is a bit vague. Microsoft cites companies like Steelcase, Kohler, Chevron, United Technologies and Johnson Controls as being among those using Microsoft’s IoT platform in embedded products. (And many Thurrott.com readers will recognize Johnson Controls as the maker of that cool smart thermometer.) But this platform does represent another logic step, at least, for those developers who have adopted Microsoft technologies in the past. And, as a platform, IoT very much as the potential to be much bigger than that for PCs, tablets, video game consoles, or other traditional device types.
“Today’s announcement positions us to support customers as they develop new and increasingly sophisticated IoT solutions, which few could have imagined just a few years ago,” Ms. White concludes. “We can’t wait to see what comes from our customers and partners next, and we’ll have more to share throughout the year.”
I suspect we’ll learn more about Microsoft’s IoT push at Build, which is just about a month away.