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November 29, 2017updated 29 Jun 2022 12:22pm

Microsoft Azure location services to drive IoT & smart cities

The platform is intended to have an impact on an array of industries, including logistics, automotive, manufacturing and retail.

By Tom Ball

Bringing a location platform to the cloud, Microsoft has announced Azure Location Based Services, a public cloud offering geared towards enterprise cloud customers that will launch in 2018.

This new project is going to be built into the Azure cloud platform and aims to supply developers with geographical data.

The goal of the project is to drive smart city and IoT innovation, and in doing so industries including logistics, automotive, manufacturing, retail and urban planning are prime targets for disruption. Intending to have a widespread impact, Microsoft is planning for the platform to be compatible with over 30 languages.

In a blog post on the plan, Sam George, Director Azure IoT, said: “Available in early December, Azure Location Based Services provides an enterprise-ready location service for customers to build mobility, asset tracking and other geospatial applications that provide useful insights through one dashboard, one subscription and one bill.”

With autonomous driving projects constantly gaining traction, this concept is set to gain a great deal of attention. Tying in with this, TomTom is Microsoft’s official partner on the platform.

“As enterprises harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect their physical assets to the cloud, they are dramatically reducing energy usage and consuming fewer natural resources. While the breakthrough insights IoT solutions can provide are significant, they can be even more powerful when combined with location–based insights,” George said.

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Providing insights into other use cases for the new cloud location service, George used freight companies as an example, pointing at the benefits of this kind of capability for keeping track of assets.

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“As IoT continues to transform businesses by providing breakthrough insights and optimizations for connected assets, location becomes even more important. For instance, a department of transportation can now use Azure Location Based Services to analyze and improve traffic in congested cities, freight companies can provide improved fleet management and logistics, and businesses can track the location of assets and be notified when their location changes.”

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