HCL Technologies, an IT services company based in India, announced that it is teaming with Microsoft to build an Internet of things (IoT ) incubation center in the latter's hometown of Redmond, Wash.
The new center will focus on bringing IoT solutions to bear on select industry verticals, the companies said in a Feb. 8 announcement. HCL and Microsoft are targeting the industrial and manufacturing verticals along with life sciences and health care, specifically exploring the fields of industrial automation and patient monitoring, among other use cases.
"The center will also deploy a new model of innovation leveraging real-time analytics, sensory data and rapid co-creation allowing customers to experience the impact IoT can have on their ability to create sustainable business value," said the companies in a statement.
Microsoft's Azure IoT Suite, launched in late September, will serve as the innovation center's cloud-enabled IT technical foundation. Azure IoT Suite is a collection of preconfigured cloud services and tools aimed at reducing the complexity of IoT deployments and helping enterprises quickly launch large-scale projects.
HCL is banking on those traits to help accelerate IoT adoption. "The ability to rapidly prototype and bring solutions to market is a key to enterprise success in a hyper-innovative global environment," said Sukamal Banerjee, executive of HCL Technologies' IoT WoRKS division. In particular, HCL predicts that industrial-scale IoT solutions are "to be the next big productivity and revenue generation lever for enterprises worldwide."
IoT is also poised to significantly improve the fortunes of IT vendors.
In December, market research firm IDC forecast that IoT spending will reach a whopping $1.3 trillion in 2019, fueled in part by the explosive industrial demand. "Manufacturing and transportation are both a good fit for IoT deployments. Both industries have been connecting their supply chains, products, customers, and even workers for some time now, and really embrace the value of business outcomes," said IDC's Vernon Tuner, senior vice president and IoT Research Fellow, in a statement at the time.
For Microsoft, the partnership is an extension of its ambitious, IoT-enabled cloud strategy.
"One of the most transformative trends affecting businesses today is the Internet of Things. Together with HCL, we're enabling companies to accelerate IoT adoption with industry-specific solutions that deliver greater business insights, new revenue models and speed return on investment," said Susan Hauser, corporate vice president of Microsoft Business and Corporate Responsibility.
"These capabilities are essential to creating greater impact and maintaining competitive advantage in the digital economy," continued Hauser.
A recent survey from Vanson Bourne, an analyst firm, indicates that most enterprises are looking to IoT to gain a competitive edge. Seventy-one percent of the 300 IT decision-makers polled by the firm agreed that IoT would help them gain a competitive advantage. Seventy-four percent said they felt that IoT could help them better meet key business objectives.