Microsoft tries to find itself in the location-aware IoT segment

Microsoft has announced a new partnership with TomTom to enhance its capabilities in the fast-growing IoT segment.

The current Microsoft portfolio puts it in a strong position to reclaim the glories from previous decades, and CEO Satya Nadella has proven himself to be a shrewd businessman in recent years. Under his leadership, a shift in focus towards cloud computing has put the company back at the top of the technology world, the Cortana artificial intelligence suite is growing solidly and bolstering mapping capabilities is a smart move considering the importance of location-aware IoT devices.

“Location is essential in understanding the world around us, and making sense of complex location data has enormous potential to transform lives, cities and industries,” said Kevin Dallas, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Business Development, on the company’s blog. “The journey starts with an ecosystem that leverages the heritage and first-class expertise and technologies of our partners.

“Through a new partnership, TomTom and Microsoft announced they will join forces to integrate location-based services into Microsoft Azure to make it even easier and more flexible for developers to build and manage enterprise, mobile, web and Internet of Things (IoT) applications that are location-aware.

“A global leader in navigation and mapping products, TomTom brings to Microsoft advanced location technologies — optimized for fast updates — and innovative maps and capabilities, including its High Definition Map and RoadDNA technology for autonomous driving.”

The development of mapping technologies is not often a stand-alone conversation when discussing the future of the IoT segment, but it is one which is crucial. Connected cars are a given, but in the logistics industry it is critical, for wearables it is very important and for location-based services too. For the most part, Google Maps has a clear dominance and is integrated into various offerings, however Microsoft seems to be making a play for the segment.

For the moment, it is nothing more than a small step towards Microsoft’s IoT ambitions, however there are some pretty good use cases which could come off the back of it. When combined with the Office365 suite and Cortana AI offerings in an connected car environment, it could combine up-to-date mapping, traffic and weather data with a driver’s schedule, to-do lists and preferences for personalized planning and routing.

Developments like this are not going to shake the world, but Nadella and his team have proved themselves to be pretty canny operators in recent years, spotting some pretty good opportunities in the embryonic stages.

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