Microsoft manager welcomes 5G to accelerate IoT

  • January 20, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

The advent of 5G will be an accelerator for the IoT, according to Tony Shakib, general manager at Microsoft Azure IoT, opening last week’s IMC IoT Infrastructure Partner Conference at the virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

This is because 5G can support millions of devices at ultra-fast speeds, and is resolving lag and connectivity issues. Latency is much lower.

“5G really is a game changer,” he said. “In many of the areas where connectivity is difficult, 5G is making it available. There is a lot more throughput particularly with some type of sensors and edge AI types of application. You can maintain mobile device connectivity and integrate these services into the cloud.”

This is because he said data were becoming very important for business transactions, and these data need to be addressed in ways that create value and solve real business problems.

A key part of this is the relationship between the edge and the cloud.

“As much as we would like everything to happen in the cloud where there is unlimited compute and storage capabilities, a lot of things do happen at the edge where you need that real-time sensitivity,” he said. “That is why we have created a hybrid and coordinated architecture that orchestrates the services between the edge and the cloud.”

This though means handling vast amounts of data.

“IoT solves the connectivity problem, but as soon as you connect you have a tsunami of data coming in and if you don’t know what to do with them you can get lost in an ocean of data,” said Shakib. “AI and machine-learning algorithms help us sift through the data.”

Another transformation that needs to happen with IoT is it has to be plug-and-play enabled. Shakib likened the situation today to where Windows was twenty years ago when adding a device to a computer could be a long and complex process. Today, they just plug in and connect. That needs to happen with the IoT so that devices are autonomously discovered and brought up.

Digital twins will also be important, especially in the connected building space where the design of the building and how it will operate can be simulated before it is even built. A digital twin can help designers plan where to put the sensors and cameras to get the best outcomes. And once it is built, the digital twin can look at real-time signals to find ways to improve the performance.