At Microsoft’s business-focused Convergence conference today in Atlanta, Georgia, the computing giant confirmed it’s making a big play into the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) realm, with a new Microsoft Azure IoT Suite and IoT-focused version of its Windows 10 operating system.

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform infrastructure that helps companies build and manage apps and services from the cloud. With the Azure IoT Suite — which will be introduced in preview mode later this year — Microsoft is looking to help companies integrate and manage all their connected offerings. The new platform will give businesses access to tools such as asset management, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance. Feeding into this is Azure Stream Analytics, which serves up real-time data from “things” and will be made available “next month” as a standalone service, or bundled with Azure IoT.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has previously teased his company’s plans in the IoT realm, including the role Windows 10 will play, but further details were unveiled today — “Windows 10 IoT” will be made available for a myriad of connected devices. It’s essentially a single Windows platform that delivers access to universal apps and driver models that work across any device, and could be used in the likes of “ATMs and industrial robotics,” the company said.

The current state of play with the Internet of Things offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of ubiquitous computing, with fancy Wi-Fi thermostats, self-driving cars, and connected kettles edging increasingly into our lives. We’re heading to a place where everything around us is hooked up to the web, and there needs to be a force that powers and enables it all. This is what Microsoft is setting out its stall to achieve with these latest announcements.

Other companies are making moves to future-proof themselves with IoT-focused initiatives too — Amazon Web Services’ cloud-based offering caters specifically to the Internet of Things, with an infrastructure that lets companies build their own platform atop. And back in December, Google revealed a new open innovation and research program to push forward much of the research, standards, security, systems, and more that will be required to support this new connected society.

Younger startups are looking to capitalize on this trend too — last month we covered a young company called the, which is vying to become the Amazon Web Services for the Internet of Things.

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