The Internet of Things (IoT) is an interrelated digital device system that captures and transfers data over a wireless network without human intervention. Some IoT applications in daily life include smart health monitoring and robots in medical centers, smart wearables, smart grids, and sensors in agriculture. And with the continuous evolution of enabled technologies, business owners have great opportunities to improve efficiency by embracing these innovations.
One of the major services entrepreneurs leverage globally is Azure IoT. It’s a Microsoft-managed cloud computing platform used for monitoring and controlling millions of cloud services and applications via a system of data centers.
It allows secure and reliable communications between billions of IoT assets. And with smart edge-to-cloud technologies, you can create and deploy industry-specific cloud solutions for your business needs.
Why Azure IoT?
Azure IoT has simplified the management of web applications and ensured smooth collaboration between companies and cloud providers. Additionally, this automation of activities has enabled business owners to save time, avoid expensive or underutilized resources, and boost productivity.
Businesses can also perform various functions more effectively in real-time, such as asset management. This article discusses why you should consider adopting an Azure IoT solution for your business.
1. Enables Quick Connectivity Between IoT Devices and The Cloud
Azure IoT allows flexible connections with existing IoT assets, new devices, and standard operating systems. When businesses connect Azure IoT devices to the cloud, other Azure services, such as Azure IoT Hub and Device Provisioning Service (DPS), enable just-in-time data ingestion and provisioning. The good thing is that Azure IoT solutions come with pre-configured functionalities, so you can get your systems up and running promptly.
IoT devices need to use a transport communication protocol called MQTT to communicate with each other. This protocol allows IoT devices to send MQTT Publish packets to post messages on topics and MQTT Subscribe packets to subscribe to those topics.
And with an MQTT broker like MQTT Eclipse Mosquitto, you can create efficient MQTT communications between applications, sensors, and millions of IoT devices. The MQTT broker forwards messages obtained from publishers to clients subscribed to the topic.
2. Provides Access to Vast Amounts of IoT Data
As a business owner, you can leverage Azure IoT to access and analyze untapped data from applications, sensors, and other IoT devices. The extensively connected IoT devices deliver rich data streams for business insights and to automate decision-making. You can use advanced IoT analytics to produce the following insights:
Predictive: Real-time data from IoT devices that predict the likelihood of a future business event/.
Descriptive: Give insights on the performance of a device. You can establish how the device is utilized in-house by employees or externally by consumers and its outputs. Notably, this information can help locate and monitor your company’s assets.
Diagnostics: Business owners can leverage IoT data to understand anomalies or inefficiencies in various functionalities.
Prescriptive: This includes additional insights into the appropriate action to influence positive results.
Azure IoT analytics services like Azure Stream Analytics can analyze IoT-based data inputs, store, and allow extraction of information to determine patterns and relationships and build reports. You can turn the relevant insights into action by applying them in your business operations. For instance, through predictive intelligence, businesses can ensure efficient planning and management of resource allocations.
Below are other ways real-time Azure IoT data can benefit your business:
Ensures effective supply chain management: Speed and efficiency are essential to ensuring success in the supply chain. Luckily, Azure IoT solutions enable product tracking. Businesses can use these insights to forecast how inventory moves through the supply chain.
Promotes production efficiency: With efficient analytics, manufacturers can monitor commodities in a virtual environment and predict market behavior to control production.
Facilitates improved customer experiences: IoT data can provide insights into customers’ tastes and preferences. Therefore, as a business owner, you can leverage this information to create customized products and services for your buyers. These insights lead to increased sales and higher revenue for your business.
Ensures maximum staff utilization: Based on IoT data, managers can better understand the execution of internal processes in the workplace. That way, they can assign optimal tasks to workers to improve productivity.
Additionally, with Azure IoT, you can ensure collaboration in the work environment by sharing IoT data with other cloud services using data export. Therefore, you’d want to utilize Azure IoT for enhanced data exploration experiences which translates into efficient performance.
3. Scales with Your Business
When choosing an IoT solution, you’d want one that scales with your business. Ideally, as organizations grow, so do their needs, including digital requirements.
For instance, after introducing remote working environments, many of your staff will more likely embrace these flexible work setups. You’ll have to consider IoT solutions that can handle large volumes of data. That’s because you may have to move more data daily to ensure your staff has real-time access to critical business information.
Fortunately, Azure IoT solutions scale with your business as you explore various growth opportunities. There are different solutions available based on scale and price. In terms of scale, a basic solution may be ideal if you only need a subset of the features. It can work for business owners that only require a unidirectional connection of IoT devices to the cloud.
However, you can upgrade to a more advanced Azure IoT solution with robust configurations as you grow. It’s specifically vital if you’re looking to manage all your IoT devices remotely or transfer some of your tasks onto the devices.
Fortunately, Azure IoT solution provides business owners with centralized management of IoT assets. It combines Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings, so you can quickly reconfigure and update your IoT devices.
4. Provides Comprehensive Built-in Security and Compliance
Microsoft invests a good percentage of its resources in providing high-level security. Their security experts ensure their IoT solutions offer secure bidirectional communication, device-cloud, and cloud-device.
Below are some of the security controls enabled to ensure secure connections and protected cloud services:
Encryption: Azure IoT solutions support data encryption. It involves translating IoT data into a unique code and can only be accessed by someone with decryption. Therefore, you can secure your IoT data in transit or at rest.
Certificate-based authentication: Azure ensures secure IoT device authentication through secure identity provisioning and public key infrastructure. The identities are backed by cryptographic keys and trusted certificate authority (CA), enabling secure data transmission between servers.
Strong password protection: Azure IoT devices are password-enabled, and most come with preset passwords. However, using the same passwords poses a security threat since hackers might easily bypass patterns and similar keystrokes. Therefore, you should reset a more complex and secure password that’s hard to guess and unique to every IoT device.
Firmware updates: Microsoft has a recurrent firmware upgrade strategy preventing any security flaws associated with outdated systems. Besides, Azure stays updated with the latest compliance standards and government policies. Therefore, you can stay ahead of all compliance issues.
Network segmentation: Azure IoT reduces the attack surface by dividing a network into subsections controlling the lateral movement of data or direct communication between many endpoints. Therefore, it becomes harder for cybercriminals to endanger your IoT device through a single point of compromise.
Additionally, here are some security recommendations when using Azure IoT solutions:
Stay updated: Use the updated versions of applications, programming languages, frameworks, and other IoT protocols.
Secure your authentication keys: Keeping your IoT divide IDs and authentication keys secured after deployment is vital.
Use Azure IoT software development kits (SDKs): Device SDKs apply different security protocols like authentication and encryption to help you develop a highly secure device application.
Control access to your IoT devices and other backend services: Adopt security mechanisms to prevent unwanted access to your devices and the risk of data exposure. That includes building secure hardware by protecting your hardware ports and installing antimalware, firewalls, and antivirus capabilities.
Also, other Azure cloud services, such as Stream Analytics, may also use your IoT data. Therefore, authorizing the right and documented access permissions is vital to prevent attacks from these entry points. Fortunately, Azure IoT devices integrate connected warning systems that play a significant part in disaster management as they alert the operators in case of events such as physical tampering.
Adopting an Azure IoT solution for your business is ideal for ensuring end-to-end security for your services. It’s the only way to make sure you can depend on your connected IoT equipment and products to improve efficiency in your organization.
5. Optimizes Automation
An automated work management system has become essential for the modern business owner. Automating your business processes can eliminate repetitive manual tasks, time restrictions, and boost operational efficiency. Fortunately, with Azure IoT solutions, businesses can optimize automation to improve daily operations significantly.
For example, remote field-force connectivity facilitates improved operational execution and team member engagement. Also, you can improve the current technologies like barcodes by reinforcing them with IoT solutions like tracker tags.
Azure IoT solutions allow legacy integrations. Business owners can integrate their existing business solutions to streamline processes.
In this digital transformation era, IoT solutions can help you operate more efficiently by improving vital aspects of your business. Above are some reasons you should adopt a secure and scalable Azure IoT solution for your organization. Altogether, ensure your IoT solution scales with your business and facilitates efficient resource utilization and better decision-making.
Last Updated 4 months ago