The two companies are building an IoT incubation center in Redmond, Wash., where Microsoft's headquarters is based. Their incubator will become a hub for exploring IoT and developing solutions to be used in different business verticals.
Specifically, the center will be focused on two areas with potential in IoT: Industrial and manufacturing, and life sciences and healthcare. Examples of use cases they plan to explore include remote patient monitoring, fleet management, and industrial automation.
[Cisco is also betting on IoT with a $1.4B Jasper acquisition.]
Microsoft and HCL plan to use a new model of innovation for the work in their incubation center. The idea is to use real-time analytics, sensory data, and rapid collaboration to let customers see how IoT can affect their business value.
The center will leverage Microsoft's Azure IoT Suite, which was first announced in early 2015 and became available for purchase in September. It aims to simplify the process of using IoT among businesses.
The Azure IoT Suite combines IoT services, including data stream collection and storage, so that companies in non-technical industries can leverage the power of IoT. It also performs functions like remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, and fleet or asset management.
"One of the most transformative trends affecting businesses today is the Internet of Things," said Susan Hauser, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Business and Corporate Responsibility, in a Feb. 8 statement.
As part of their work at the incubator, Microsoft and HCL will enable companies to accelerate IoT adoption through industry-specific solutions built to deliver new revenue models, improved business insights, and faster ROI. All of these are critical to staying competitive in the digital economy, she says.
HCL has an extensive background in engineering, product lifecycle management, systems integration, and infrastructure services. Its IoT WoRKS business division helps organizations leverage IoT to maximize ROI and create new services.
"Industrial IoT is slated to be the next big productivity and revenue generation lever for enterprises worldwide," said Sukamal Banerjee, EVP and head of the IoT WoRKS unit. HCL's collaboration in IoT can bring innovative and user-friendly solutions to market, he explains.
By partnering with Microsoft, which has already established itself as a leader in IoT, HCL could bring its innovation to a much larger scale. The creation of the incubator is a sign Microsoft plans to continue expanding its efforts in the rapidly growing IoT space.
While this incubation hub could spark the creation of new IoT solutions for different verticals, businesses will continue to face challenges as they experiment with this new form of technology.
Security, privacy, and data ownership problems will create legal concerns for businesses as they adopt new devices that collect personal information. As they reevaluate how their companies will support the IoT using new systems, they must also consider how they will handle the onslaught of information that will be available to them.