The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the latest and greatest buzzwords of the past year. But what exactly is the IoT and how can it help your business? Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Analytics Suite are designed to enable you to take advantage of the IoT related to your business by capturing, collecting and analyzing the data from your company. The Azure IoT Suite helps you get started quickly by providing you with a set of preconfigured IoT solutions. The Cortana Analytics Suite strives to be the holy grail of analytics combining natural language query capabilities with cloud analytics and machine learning. Cortana Analytics Suite is designed to allow the cloud to deliver analytics as a service. Here are the top ten things you need to know about the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite and the Cortana Analytics Suite.
1. What is the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite?
The Azure IoT Suite is a set of Azure services that enable you to capture and analyze the data generated by your business. The Azure IoT Suite can connect with a broad range of devices and operating systems. Devices generate useful operations data like telemetry, temperature readings or other operational data. These devices can send that data to the Azure IoT backend using the Azure IoT cloud gateway or if they cannot communicate directly with the cloud gateway an IoT client or intermediate gateway can collect the data and forward it to the cloud gateway. The IoT solution backend receives, processes and stores the data from these devices. The Azure IoT and Power BI enables you to analyze the data and present it in the form of dashboards or BI reports.
2. How do you get started with Microsoft Azure IoT?
Taking advantage of the IoT is a new territory for most organizations. To help you get started Microsoft Azure IoT provides a set of extensible preconfigured solutions that address common IoT scenarios. The preconfigured solutions include remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance.
3. When is the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite available?
The Microsoft Azure IoT Suite was first announced September 29th 2015 and it is currently available for purchase as a monthly subscription.
4. What devices work with the Azure IoT Suite?
Microsoft has a list of Certified IoT devices that you can find on GitHub under Azure /azure-iot-sdks. Microsoft also provides an SDK that you can use on a number of different platforms to work with Azure IoT. You can find out about developing for Azure IoT devices and the IoT Hub at the Azure IoT Developer Center. The Azure IoT Developer Center provides a wizard to create an IoT project with a device. There is a Samples gallery and instructions on how to run the various samples showing how you can connect different devices to the Azure IoT Hub. There are also Azure IoT tutorials and documentation on the site.
5. Where can I find more information about Microsoft’s IoT Suite and is there a trial offering?
6. How does Cortana help with BI and analytics?
The combination of Cortana and BI makes working with business data as simple as asking questions. The inclusion of Cortana with BI and analytics enables you to naturally query your data by speaking without the need for complex BI client programs. Instead, you can simply speak the query to Cortana and the Azure-based analytic service will process the query and return the results to you. Power BI can provide analysis for organizational data while integration with machine learning can return predictive results.
7. What makes up the Cortana Analytics Suite?
Cortana Analytics Suite is comprised of a wide ranging set of cloud services that work together. The services that are used by the suite include the Cortana Personal Assistant, Power BI, Azure HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Data Lake, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Catalog and Azure Event Hub. Being a set of cloud services there is no software to install. No hardware to purchase and no software licenses to worry about. Instead there is a monthly subscription charge required to use the Cortana Analytic Suite.
8. What do all these different components of the Cortana Analytics Suite do?
Power BI provides dashboards and visualizations. Azure Machine Learning, HDInsight and Stream Analytics provide machine learning and complex event processing capabilities. Azure Data Lake and SQL Data Warehouse provide Big Data storage and processing. Azure Data Factory, Data Catalog and Event Hub provide data orchestration and event ingestion capabilities.
9. Where can I find out more about the Microsoft Cortana Analytics Suite?
10. The Azure IoT Suite and the Cortana Analytics Suite both seem to have a lot of components. Are these products only intended for large enterprises?
Microsoft has designed the Cortana Analytics Suite to be useful for businesses of all sizes. Smaller businesses can benefit from the fact that there’s no capital expenditures or expensive software licenses required to get started. Larger enterprise can benefit by the scalability provided by the Azure cloud platform.