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Are we living in a connected world with AI, IoT Edge and Cloud?



The quote above by Mark Wiser who was a chief scientist at Xerox PARC in the United States. Weiser is widely considered to be the father of ubiquitous computing, a term which he coined in 1988. That’s what is happening with computing which is becoming part of the world we live in and being implemented in our life.


There is computing in every home, every office, every institution; whether it is an oil and gas industry or shipping, the computing is found across the industries horizontally and vertically. From self-driving cars to connected refrigerators, it is part of a fabric of our life, our society, and we see it in all numbers.


As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft stated some interesting technology facts during the Inspire 2018 conference that took place in Las Vegas, he mentioned that the tech spending as percentage of world’s GDP is currently at 5%, which is expected to be double by 2030 and the real question is what about the other 90-95 percent? All of the operating expense of the world is going to be powered by technology. According to MIT technology study projects published in Huffington post in UK, 47% of all jobs will be automated by 2034.




 Technology tends to go on waves of innovation. The first wave was the cloud globally available with unlimited compute resources where Internet of Things (IoT) is build on that, IoT devices tend to be geo-dispersed and there is a lot of them and tiny and you need unlimited compute capacity. Don’t forget not too long ago, we have gone from NT4, windows server, data center, virtualization to cloud and now era of digital transformation, the whole world has transformed, there is a huge paradigm shift in the way how businesses are operated and the way how human beings interact with technology. Now, the scale of Azure is beyond everyone’s mind with 54 data center regions, and for each region there are multiple data centers. An example Satya mentioned in his keynotes speech at Microsoft Inspire 2018 in Las Vegas that the amount of cable there are in the data center is like enough to go the moon and back three times.


He also stated: “Ultimately we got to measure ourselves by technology not for the technology sake but how are we empowering people, how are we helping organization with their digital transformation outcomes.” Empowerment of organizations, consumers, and people with cloud computing, IoT devices, AI and intelligent cloud in the safest and secured manner is the ultimate responsibility of all technology and innovative leaders, so that the automated decisions can be made quickly and precisely to save and improve lives of all creation.


Intelligent Cloud - IoT Edge:


IoT Edge is the next logical step, which provides the ability to take ownership of the data, compute with logic and take data-driven quick decisions. IoT devices sending data to cloud and telemetry is generated in order to receive commands; applying cloud intelligence with that data and be able to move it down to edge itself. IoT devices start to generate more and more data, so you get to the equilibrium where you are still sending that data to the cloud for training but you can execute that training right on the device itself. Satya rightly stated that data has gravity, and instead of trying to overcome that gravity just simply move compute to where it is; in another words take cloud functionality and run it directly on the IoT devices themselves.


Game Changer: IoT Edge with Artificial Intelligence (AI)


Sam George who is a director of IT at Microsoft mentions that the next game changer is when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is happening at the same time, Azure IoT edge continues provide cloud intelligence to run and also push AI to edge. In one of his presentation, he describes the process of running Azure IoT Edge in conjunction with IoT Hub


Azue IoT edge cross platform runtime which runs on Windows and Linux; you can install on devices such as smaller than raspberry pi. For example, if you are using azure stream analytics and you are looking for average of all sorts of telemetries, you want to move it out to the Edge, what Azure Stream Analytics, stream analytics can take azure analytics jobs and package them with docker compatible containers and Azure IoT Edge works with Azure IoT hub (Azure portal can deliver all those functionalities and still manage those devices).


Therefore, Azure IoT can deliver all the capabilities and Azure IoT hub as a management plain can push all that work out to the cloud.



Programmers would feel as they simply write an Azure Stream Analytics query, click on the button and export it, and click on another button he may have running on a device.




The new transition to AI – Microsoft has been working on fundamental AI breakthroughs for 20 plus years. In the recent years, some of the advancements as measured by their ability to have human parity in a lot of these perceptions and language capabilities is phenomenal and is happening because of the ability to provision lots of computer capabilities. Satya (Inspire, 2018) mentioned that new techniques of algorithmic and around deep neural nets in particular. In 2016, Microsoft, first time was able to have human parity level, objective recognition, with image net - 152 layer deep layer neural nets, were able to show that these neural nets recognize objectives as human beings.


People-Centered Experiences:


It is bigger than anything that has come before. Satya mentioned recently in his keynotes at Inspire (Las Vegs, 2018) that there are three things that are happening simultaneously at the experience layer that we are moving to people-centered experiences, that means we are going to decouple the experience from the devices, we are going to decouple input/output; it is going to be multi-sense, multi-device; you may start on one device with one sense and in fact output could have another sense on another device, but it is going to be part of the same application. Satya also mentioned that Microsoft is going to infuse everything with AI, learning different perceptions and with language capabilities, the autonomy that is going to be built in the application going forward will eventually to power all of those and the one thing that is need is the ubiquitous distributed computing fabric.



Connected Industries and Resources:

With connected IoT devices in the health care systems, it can certainly help save lives and can significantly lower the health care cost. In the example of an innovation with connected care, what Case Western implemented quantum computing, with quantum inspired algorithms, simultaneously configuring in Azure, tissue image printing, is getting better at detecting cancer at early stage of scanning. New types of algorithms can have real impact – and that is ubiquitous computing.


Example (Use Case):

The example here is the collaboration between first-line workers and the subject matter experts (SMEs) leveraging cloud, Azure, Azure IoT, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics. Digitization of the business processes via Dynamics 365 and the digitization of the productivity workflows via Microsoft 365, and a real-world data via Azure IoT are all connected by a common data service. There are billions of first-line works, they no longer have to place their devices down when they have to be hands-on. With AI (mixed reality), this completely transforms, Dynamics 365 for field service integration and remote service HoloLens leveraging shared data content from Microsoft 365 applications.


With secure Azure IoT network, a connected sensor has sent an alert about a drop in water pressure and water level at a water tower. Upon receiving this alert Dynamics 365 for field service has automated the scheduling of resources, taking in account things like location and availability of certain people and the demands of the particular job. It normally takes days and weeks to schedule a machine walkthrough and to review the issue, but with remote assistance HoloLens, one can resolve a problem in the matter of seconds by bringing in the SMEs and share real-time virtual reality window with them to collaborate over. This example’s demo was shared at the Microsoft Inspire 2018.


Once the job is completed, the entire process gets updated in the dynamics work order, the time repair was done, resources that were collaborated with for assistance, other information about the repair and all the information gets updated in real-time on the SharePoint if the company has set it up.




Chevron leveraging AI:


Chevron's key goal is to ensure that compute is available in the remotest locations. The digitization of oil rig, the drill bit itself the feedback loop from there is now a lot more intense than it ever was. The manual operation is now have the digital feedback loop itself, so now you have the most accuracy and has all kind of benefits of the environment. The speed to receive the data tends to be an issue since decisions can’t wait for the cloud processing to provide for that feedback cycle. They are deploying azure stack where they need, where data is generated, and where AI needs to have reasoning power.


Concluding Remarks:


In conclusion, I must say that the combination of leveraging AI capabilities integrating it with IoTs, powering cloud intelligence can certainly enhance the abilities to take in-time data-driven decisions that can impact the livelihoods, environments and make this world a lot more embedded and connected with ubiquitous computing power.




George, S. Microsoft Build 2017, Seattle, May 8, 2017.


Nadella, S. Microsoft Inspire, Microsoft Ready, Las Vegas, July 18, 2018.






Topics: Data & AI


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