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Toshiba-Microsoft IoT collaboration wins at buzzword Bingo

Samsung and Telefónica's Thinking Things spiel comes a close second

“Internet of Things”, “Cloud”, “SaaS”, “state of the art”, “great user experience”: it’s all in the latest cross-supply agreement between Microsoft and Toshiba.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding where Toshiba will supply the hardware and Microsoft the software to build Internet of Things things, specifically Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure – which is where “cloud” comes in. Toshiba will deliver sensors and accompanying data-driven applications.

In this partnership, Toshiba will provide XaaS (X as a Service), making use of its extensive in-house technologies such as ApP Lite (Application Processor Lite), in-vehicle driving recorders, sensors and cloud storage services. Microsoft will provide IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), private line services (Azure ExpressRoute) and advanced analytics (Azure Machine Learning) as part of Microsoft Azure.

The first application for the alliance will be a product for the transportation and logistics market later this year.

Shigeyoshi Shimotsuji, corporate vice president and executive vice president of Industrial ICT Solutions Company, Toshiba, said: “This partnership presents a unique opportunity for Microsoft and Toshiba to bring together the best of our technologies and offer a compelling value proposition to our enterprise customers and further build a more information-friendly and comfortable community.”

“Bringing together the power of the Azure Services and IoT Suite with Toshiba’s cutting-edge, sensor-driven devices will provide a new level of data access and business intelligence to customers,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president OEM Division, Microsoft.

'Tis the season to be incomprehensible

Also jumping on the incomprehensible corporate jargon IoT bandwagon is an alliance of Samsung and Telefónica. Both companies are working on integrating Thinking Things, which comes out of Telefónica’s I+D's research division, using Samsung’s kit. Two prototypes are currently in development.

The first prototype integrates Telefónica’s Thinking Things Modular solution with the capabilities of Samsung’s devices and sensor technology. Pressing a button will do whatever the stack of modules is designed to do. The second prototype is just the button which can be attached to a dumb device to give it smarter attributes.

It could, for instance, be attached to a dishwasher so that when it was out of rinse aid an order went in to an online supermarket which would then deliver it. Telefónica, however, describes it by saying: “The second prototype involves the development of a physical button that will be used to simplify the application of IoT capabilities to different environments. Both companies are working on new ways to bolster sensor-enabled interaction for the IoT field as home appliances and home automation, such as presence control and temperature and humidity regulation, which will be customisable and incorporated into Samsung’s devices.”

Alfredo Aragüés, Samsung Spain's R&D division lead said in a canned quote: “At Samsung, we believe that the true value of IoT technology is making the user experience easier and more intuitive.”

Perhaps Sammy's PR division needs to read and heed Aragüés' words. ®

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