At the recent IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft had a noticeably increased presence as compared to previous years. This should come as no surprise when one looks at Microsoft’s continued commitment to the IoT, along with their ongoing investment in the AI space. It is Microsoft’s position that AI will be a significant driver of IoT adoption. As such, they showcased the first of their IoT in Action events, where they briefed partners and customers on many of their new products and solutions for the IoT marketplace.
To support their claim, Microsoft shared a public preview of a Vision AI Developer Kit for IoT solution makers. This kit allows solution makers to easily deploy AI models using Azure Machine Learning and Azure IoT Edge. The kit includes a device that utilizes the Qualcomm Visual Intelligence Platform for hardware acceleration of the AI model to deliver superior inferencing performance. The following Q&A with Sam George, Director of Azure IoT at Microsoft, conducted by IoT Times, provides a glimpse of the ways in which Microsoft sees AI playing a key role in accelerating IoT initiatives.
IoT Times: What is Microsoft’s vision of IoT, its current stage and the future of the ecosystem with the cloud, edge computing and AI?
Sam George: We see a series of waves in computing that are happening right now that are all interrelated. For example, the cloud is well-understood now; it wasn’t five years ago. Also, IoT is well-understood. IoT was around for a very long time, but it was called something different: M2M. And what made it different is being able to take advantage of the cloud. So if you want to build an IoT solution, you don’t have to build a data center, and you can also take advantage of services that cloud providers and Microsoft provide.