Microsoft IoT service can virtualise physical spaces/infrastructure

September 25, 2018 // By Rich Pell
Microsoft (Redmond, WA) has announced a new Azure IoT service that will let customers create digital models – i.e., "digital twins" – of physical spaces and infrastructure using the cloud, AI, and IoT.

The Azure Digital Twins platform is designed for "comprehensive digital models and spatially aware solutions" that can be applied to any physical environment. Users can now query data in the context of a space — rather than from disparate sensors — empowering them to build repeatable, scalable experiences that correlate data from digital sources and the physical world, the company says.

"For years now, our partners and customers have been using the Azure Internet of Things (IoT) platform to create breakthrough applications for a wide variety of industries," says Bert Van Hoof - Partner Group Program Manager, Azure IoT. "Along this journey, we've learned that most digital transformation efforts benefit from context about the physical world. As a result, organizations are showing a growing appetite for solutions that provide a deeper understanding of the sophisticated interactions between people, places, and things."

The new service is designed around the concept of the "digital twin" — a virtual representation of a physical environment that brings in data from a variety of sources. While digital twins have traditionally been used for industrial equipment, says the company, the concept of a digital twin is also broadly applicable to modeling "all the ways we live and work in our physical environment."

Modeling the complex interactions and "high-value intersections" between people, places, and things, says the company, "is unlocking new opportunities, creating new efficiencies, and improving public and private spaces." Developed as part of the Azure IoT platform, the new service is aimed at enabling environments of all types — including offices, schools, hospitals, banks, stadiums, warehouses, factories, parking lots, streets, intersections, parks, plazas, and more — to become smarter spaces.

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