Microsoft is setting the stage for an expansion of its internet of things efforts into Asia. The company on Oct. 14 announced the launch of its new IoT Innovation Center in Taiwan, a technology hub meant to bring together experts, industry partners and academia to advance the state of the internet of things in the region.
"Asia is a critical and rapidly growing part of the IoT market and Microsoft has already deployed the Azure IoT Suite to multiple regions," said Sam George, general manager of Microsoft Azure IoT, in an Oct. 14 announcement. "We believe that through the first Microsoft IoT Expo, our market leading IoT offerings and the newly launched Microsoft IoT Innovation Center as a hub in Asia, we are enabling customers and partners to realize the enormous business potential of IoT."
Microsoft's IoT Innovation Center will operate as a "federated lab," a semiautonomous model that will help accelerate the development of IoT solutions, according to the company. The Taiwanese IoT Innovation Center "will play a strategic role in IoT development," stated Microsoft, with the results being directly reported to the software giant's Redmond, Wash., headquarters.
The center will link local partners, startups and research institutes with the company's global ecosystem to foster international collaboration and help integrate the various IoT research and development projects Microsoft has a hand in. Partner companies include Advantech, AOpen, NEC, Nexcom and Trend Micro.
The center is also home to the IoT Community Lab, which offers training and specialized consultation services. In addition, three IoT Scenario Labs will offer individualized architecture design, business consultation and development services.
"Through technology transfer, educational training, facility sharing, middleware development, and collaborative projects, these labs work as a federation," commented Cathy Yeh, a Microsoft Cloud Enterprise Product Group program manager serving in the new Internet of Things Innovation Center. "They learn from each other to develop hardware, software, and services needed for IoT solutions."
Microsoft isn't the only tech company looking abroad for IoT growth opportunities.
Earlier this month, IBM announced a $200 million investment in its Munich-based Watson IoT headquarters. Some of the funds are earmarked for building the company's so-called IoT Collaboratories, hands-on labs where developers, engineers and researchers can explore the intersection of cognitive computing and the internet of things.
In 2014, Dell and Intel opened the doors to an IoT Solutions Lab in Santa Clara, Calif. And in January, Dell opened its first dedicated IoT lab in the Asia-Pacific region, again with Intel's support. Located in Singapore, the facility enables customers, developers and independent software vendors to build and test IoT solutions with the help of Dell's experts and technology.
"The IoT market continues to experience strong growth across APJ [Asia-Pacific Japan]," said Glen Burrows, area vice president at Dell OEM's Asia Pacific and Japan unit, in a Jan. 19 statement. "We see vast opportunities from IoT with companies benefiting by identifying new business models, increasing operational efficiency and fueling innovation."