At Microsoft Build, developers find plenty of IoT, edge news highlighted during conference

At Microsoft Build, developers find plenty of IoT, edge news highlighted during conference

Developers are still going over what was announced during Microsoft Corp.’s Build conference, its first online iteration, and one that included many IoT news items as the company continued to develop its vision for “intelligent edge” cloud services.

Among the announcements at the all-digital event: an update for Azure Digital Twins. Digital twins are simulations of physical-world objects and processes against which developers can test their ideas for flaws and strengths.

According to a post by Sam George, corporate vice president of Azure IoT, the update includes “rich and flexible modeling that supports full graph topologies.” It also offers a live execution environment, query APIs and integration with other Azure services.

While not available right now (they reportedly will be released “soon”), a pair of preview features are aimed at helping align IoT Plug and Play and Azure Digital Twins. They will soon share the Digital Twins Definition modeling language, which Microsoft says will make it easier to Plug and Play devices to Digital Twins, and have those devices show up right away as a Digital Twin. Also, the company says it is streamlining the process developers use to enable device compatibility with IoT Plug and Play. Easier device integration is a small but often difficult step needed to bring in more data from a manufacturing line, for example.

Microsoft product engineers have also combined Time Series Insights with Digital Twins, giving buyers contextualized representations of their environment. The result is expected to give better insights into how customers, assets and processes interact.

An important part of the update is Microsoft’s promise to support an open, interoperable modeling language called the Digital Twins Definition Language (based on the JSON-LD standard) and participation in the Digital Twin Consortium along with Dell, Ansys and LendLease.

Switching over to Azure Maps, the company announced Maps Creator in preview. George called the move a “fundamental shift in building and managing private map data” and putting GIS data management in Azure cloud.

With Digital Twins, Maps Creator enables developers to add private map data like floorplans and physical assets to customer-controlled, secure and compliant geospatial storage systems. Buyers are expected to be able to manage and monitor IoT assets through the Azure Maps interface.

Executives took the opportunity during Build to also highlight how the IoT Central SaaS platform enables developers to create IoT apps without dealing with the underlying infrastructure. The goal is to accelerate the development of applications through templating. The company illustrated the use of a continuous patient monitoring health template for deploying health care wearables and patient monitoring systems.

On the newer side of things, the company said IoT Central will get full support for Azure Sphere and Azure IoT Edge. IoT Edge has been given new features for supporting Kubernetes, an important step given the role Kubernetes is expected to play in enabling applications to be deployed in edge environments.

This integration means developers can deploy cloud AI and machine learning workloads on edge devices. Working with IoT Central, they will be able to deploy edge modules, glean insights from them and act on those insights.

Over to Azure IoT Hub, Microsoft announced that it supports Azure Private Link for connectivity and Managed Identity that offers secure connectivity to locked Azure resources. That means IoT Hub can be brought into Azure Virtual Networks, securing systems by eliminating public Internet exposure.

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