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Nokia plugs in Microsoft Azure into its industrial edge platform

Kit Vendor Nokia and tech giant Microsoft have teamed up to integrate Microsoft Azure Arc cloud capabilities into the Nokia MX Industrial Edge platform, designed for digital transformation.

The Nokia MXIE is, we’re told, a ‘future-ready, high-capacity and highly-resilient as-a-service OT on-premise edge solution’ aimed at firms who fancy a bit of that digital transformation they’ve heard so much about. It’s powered by 4.9/LTE and 5G connectivity provided by the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC).

Microsoft Azure Arc meanwhile is described as a way to deploy and manage Azure applications on-premise with multi-cloud resources, such as virtual or physical servers and Kubernetes clusters. It is supposed to ‘simplify governance and management’ by delivering a consistent multi-cloud and on-premise management platform.

Targeting the automotive, manufacturing, energy, logistics and government sectors, the combination of the Nokia and Microsoft platforms is supposed to provides customers with added access to Azure capabilities while ’benefiting from private wireless connected assets’ real-time data and on-premise, highly-resilient OT-centric edge processing.’

Nokia says the potential benefits of using the combination of services include increasing worker safety through AI and automation, and decreasing the amount of needed backhaul with local data processing.

“We have built a leadership position with our private wireless networks solution and MX Industrial Edge platform in large part by working with our valued partners,” said Stephan Litjens, Vice President of Nokia Enterprise Solutions. “Our extended collaboration with Microsoft will enable and enhance the performance of Industry 4.0 mission critical applications allowing our customers to tap into Microsoft Azure Arc in the cloud and on the customer premise’s edge.”

Keith Sutton, CTO, Telco Service Line at Microsoft added: “Nokia is an established leader in fully integrated industrial edge and private wireless solutions to provide features and automated management tools that accelerate OT digitalization. With Microsoft Azure Arc, a wide ecosystem of applications, and our long standing work with Nokia, we can provide AI-powered insights and identify solutions to workflow issues for mission critical Industry 4.0 applications running at the edge.”

Fellow Nordic kit vendor Ericsson has also been busy in the space of late – today it was announced it had signed a deal with BT will produce a new slate of private 5G network services for factories, warehouses, retail and other industry customers.

All in all, there’s a lot of activity by a lot of players in the industry 4.0 sector – which could perhaps be overwhelming for those finding themselves in the position of running a factory and trying to work out what exact type of magic box they need to plug in to make everything more productive and efficient.

There is a small nod given to the notion of making things simpler with this combo offering from Nokia and Microsoft, which probably isn’t a bad spin to put on these things, and anyone trying to stand out in the space could well see some traction by going further with it. Making the effort to communicate what the point of digital transformation is in a more easy to understand way to the layman is probably a good move, since the target audience by definition isn’t going to be super up to speed with the latest developments in 5G, edge and cloud applications, and talking to them as if they are would seem to miss the point somewhat.

 

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