Microsoft's Ignite 2018 conference has shown off a number of end-user tangible services and capabilities, such as the Surface Hub 2S and 2X that will arrive in 2019 and 2020 respectively as well as some new features that will appear in Office 365 and Teams. Of course, developers will be interested in the backend plumbing and platforms that can support the solutions they will build and the company has unveiled a raft of new Azure services and functions for the Internet of Things.
Azure IoT Central, which launched in preview towards the end of last year, is a scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that allows developers and organizations to "provision an IoT solution in less than a minute, customize it in a few hours and go to production the same day". Now, the platform has been made generally available with a per-device pricing model and a free tier for limited-scale development usage for as long as required, allowing solutions to start small before tapping into Azure's global availability for wide-scale rollouts.
The firm will also be launching a new IoT platform, Azure Digital Twins, into public preview on October 15th. Digital Twins will enable users to "create a comprehensive digital model of any physical environment that includes people, places and things as well as the relationships and processes that bind them". IoT devices are then tied in via Azure IoT Hub, enabling the model to keep up to date with changes observed in the real world. This makes possible a variety of automation scenarios, such as having meeting rooms automatically adjust lights and blinds at the start and end of a presentation. Subsequently, users can then examine gathered information to forecast future states of the digital model by leveraging the integration with Azure data and analytics services.
Microsoft will have more to share about the capabilities of Azure Digital Twins during the course of Ignite 2018.