The Record - Issue 21: Summer 2021

W hile its roots may be firmly planted in manufacturing, the internet of things (IoT) has grown in significance across all types of enterprise, including those in the public sector. Market research firm IDC predicts there will be 55.7 billion connected IoT devices by 2025, generating 73.1 zettabytes of data, growing from 18.3 zettabytes in 2019. It also forecasts worldwide spending on IoT to pass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. Microsoft and its ecosystem of partners are working to further drive the pace of innovation of IoT and help industry leaders to reap the rewards of the technology. “IoT is playing a critical and expanding role for businesses, especially as they continue to navi- gate new experiences and challenges as a result of the pandemic,” says Rodney Clark, corporate vice president of channel sales and channel chief at Microsoft. “We are seeing customers expand from simply connecting assets, such as manu- facturing equipment, to connecting entire envi- ronments, including factories, the supply chain and distribution networks, to further optimise productivity, operations and security.” Many partners are building on these oppor- tunities by creating industry-specific solutions to accelerate emerging opportunities, ranging from worker safety and automation to retail data and analytics. “We are also seeing even greater acceleration on solutions that represent a convergence of the physical and digital worlds – leveraging Azure digital twins, HoloLens and solutions such as Mesh, to accelerate time to value,” says Clark. Take Bentley Systems for example. The infra- structure engineering software firm has built software solutions on Microsoft Azure which leverage digital twins. They are used by pro- fessionals and organisations worldwide for the design, construction and operations of roads and bridges, rail and transit, water and waste- water, public works and utilities, buildings and campuses, and industrial facilities. Hybrid working, edge computing and the cloud have become integral factors of the mod- ern business, and Clark believes that organisa- tions could benefit hugely from using IoT in conjunction with these. “Cloud and edge computing are coming together to create new opportunities for organ- isations around the world, and we’re seeing increased innovation through connected envi- ronments that place digital twins, mixed reality BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S As business leaders look to new markets and government agencies leverage technology to engage citizens, where will IoT, and the tools it can power, take us next? Microsoft’s Rodney Clark shares his thoughts COV E R S TOR Y IoT change agent of as an 38 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om