Microsoft Acquires European IoT Specialist Solair

Expanding its portfolio of cloud-based, industrial Internet of things services, Microsoft heads to Italy for its latest acquisition.

Microsoft acquires Solair

Microsoft has acquired Solair, an Italian provider of Internet of things (IoT) technology services, for an undisclosed amount.

Sam George, partner director at Microsoft Azure IoT, said in a May 3 announcement that the "acquisition supports our strategy to deliver the most complete IoT offering for enterprises." Solair specializes in IoT applications, enabling enterprises to monitor, manage and draw business insights from their connected devices.

Rancilio Group, an Italian manufacturer of espresso machines, uses Solair's platform remote monitoring capabilities to improve the efficiency of its supply chain and slash costs. AIWA System Solutions is using the Smart Factory Advisor application from Solair to turn Japanese manufacturing plants into data-driven, energy-efficient factories.

Microsoft is ramping up its industrial IoT efforts. During last month's Hannover Messe industrial technology conference in Germany, the company released a public preview of its Azure IoT Device Management service along with a beta of its Azure IoT Gateway SDK (software development kit).

Azure IoT Device management allows for fine-grained control over millions of devices, according to Microsoft. Azure IoT Gateway SDK, meanwhile, allows developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to create applications that act on device data as it is collected or integrate legacy devices into their IoT environments.

According to George, Solair's technology will be folded into the expanding Azure IoT ecosystem. "The integration of Solair's technology into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite will continue to enhance our complete IoT offering for the enterprise," he stated.

Tom Davis, CEO of Solair, said in a statement that he was "confident that Solair's technology and talent will be able to make an important contribution to Microsoft's Azure IoT Suite and Microsoft's broader IoT ambitions." The deal will allow the Solair team "to bring the power of IoT to new and unique customer scenarios" under Microsoft, he added.

Windows 10 also factors into those ambitions.

Long-time hardware partner Dell announced the Edge Gateway 5100 running Windows 10 IoT Enterprise at Hannover Messe. The ruggedized hardware provides data capture and edge analytics capabilities for factory floors and harsh environments. Liebherr Group, a pharmaceutical refrigerator maker, is launching a new model that uses Windows IoT and Azure Stream Analytics to help hospitals store their drugs at the proper temperature.

Anticipating a world blanketed by billions of connected devices, IoT companies have become highly sought-after by tech titans.

On Feb. 3, Cisco announced it was acquiring Jasper Technologies and its IoT platform for $1.4 billion. Jasper's technology allows enterprises to establish and manage cloud-based IoT device connections.

Before Microsoft set its sights on Italy, Intel snapped up a fellow Italian company called Yogitech for an undisclosed sum last month. The small firm builds functional safety standards into chips, enabling Intel to expand into industrial IoT, autonomous vehicles and robotics. "The industry is now moving from automating data to inform better decisions, to automating actions informed by real-time data," blogged Intel IoT Group Vice President Ken Caviasca, indicating some of his company's post-PC priorities.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...