Should Manufacturing Firms Invest In Microsoft Technologies?

From the invention of the assembly line to cloud computing for the Discrete, Repetitive, and Process Manufacturing industries, updating to the latest technology is never in question. What does get closer scrutiny, is deciding to invest in Microsoft technologies. That’s what Rolls Royce did, and now they use Microsoft technology platforms, to fundamentally transform, how it uses data to serve their customers better.

Manufacturing Technology

5 Microsoft Technologies Offered to Discrete, Repetitive, and Process Manufacturers

Every CEO or business owner knows reducing overhead, and expenses on server maintenance, technology management, and upgrading code benefits the company both short-term and long. It’s the same viewpoint manufacturers have always had for their operations.

The five areas of interest to Manufacturers is Microsoft’s Azure technologies in these areas:

  1. IoT
  2. Machine Learning
  3. Large-Scale Computing
  4. Hybrid Clouds
  5. Blockchain

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enables these things to connect, collect and exchange data.

When managing hundreds of thousands of devices, around the globe, while large quantities of data get streamed, and then; processing and storing that same data in real-time, is a job only the cloud was explicitly designed to pull off. That’s why Azure got designed. It will deliver both Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), making it easy for all types of Manufacturers to choose Microsoft Azure.

From the Platform as a Service level, you will find five Azure platform services:

  • Azure IoT Hub – you can directly and securely connect and consume data from IoT assets
  • Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service – you can provision millions of devices in a secure and scalable manner
  • IoT Edge – you can run advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence at the device level
  • Azure Stream Analytics – integrates with Azure IoT Hub to enable real-time analytics on data from IoT devices and applications.
  • Azure IoT Suite – provides a set of preconfigured IoT solutions for workloads such as Remote Monitoring, Predictive Maintenance, and Connected Factory.

From the Software-as-a-Service level, you have Microsoft’s IoT Central. It is a fully managed IoT SaaS solution. IoT Central makes it easy to connect, manage and monitor the Internet of Things assets at scale, allowing it to create deep insights from the IoT data to take necessary and informed action.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Microsoft continually improves old tools. They also build new ones to simplify the process of integrating these technologies with your business. These are significant areas of investment for both Microsoft and Manufacturers, limited only by your imagination.

  • Azure Machine Learning Services – are integrated, end-to-end, advanced analytics and data science solution that permits data scientists to develop experiments, prepare data, and deploy models at cloud scale.
  • Azure Machine Learning Studio – is a drag-and-drop collaborative tool you use to build, test, and deploy predictive analytics solutions on your data
  • Azure Bot Service – is an integrated environment that is purpose-built for bot development, permitting you to build, connect, deploy, manage and test intelligent bots.
  • Cognitive Services – are intelligent algorithms to see, hear, speak, understand, and interpret user needs through natural methods of communication.

Large-scale Computing

Large-scale computing is a building block when working with large datasets, especially for computationally-intensive engineering workloads. Manufacturers use rendering, and simulation technologies such as Azure Batch, to run massive parallel and HPC batch jobs.

Also used is Microsoft HPC Pack, Linux RDMA cluster to run Message Passing Interface (MPI) applications, and high-performance VMs lets you dynamically extend to Azure, when you need additional capacity, and deploy an on-premises Windows compute cluster.

Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid Clouds have become popular choices for manufacturers, just not ready to make a full commitment to the cloud. Lack of engagement might be something as simple as, keeping some company data and systems in-house.

That’s when Microsoft got the idea to create, Microsoft Azure Stack, for common scenarios like this. The Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform. The platform lets you deliver Azure services from your organization’s data center.

In Manufacturing, there are two daily routines, that have made hybrid cloud deployments particularly attractive to manufacturers:

  1. Edge and Disconnected Environments – Often IoT implementations include devices that are intermittently connected, or not connected at all to the Internet.
  2. Security and Compliance Requirements – Highly secure devices often are unable to connect directly to the internet and must use a local service. That is more common in the manufacture of goods for the military and defense sectors.

Blockchain Technologies

Bitcoin, a form of Cryptocurrency, relies heavily on the blockchain technology. However, Blockchain-as-a-technology (BaaT) became a much broader application to use. Easy-to-deploy templates from Microsoft that run on Azure for the most popular ledgers, including their Azure Blockchain Service.

Blockchain gained more attention with Manufacturers, as they began using tools like these in the cloud. It has the potential to address several essential manufacturing scenarios including

  • Asset Management
  • Counterfeit Prevention
  • Digital Thread Traceability
  • Supply Chain Management
  • IoT Tracking and Identification

The deep integration of all these services is Azure’s fundamental value proposition. It might be from Microsoft or Open Source, with on-premises systems, rich operational analytics, strong SLAs, and compliance certifications, you can still trust they have the right answers for your manufacturing company.

If you are still wavering, about investing your manufacturing firm in Microsoft technologies, who better to look to, then a technology giant that’s been transforming businesses and manufacturers, around the globe, for nearly half a century.

Did you find this article informative? If you liked this one, check out our other content we think you’ll find interesting.

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