Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is in the spotlight amid an explosive growth in Cloud and productivity apps business. But there is one catalyst in particular which is set to take Microsoft stock higher than ever: Internet of Things. Navigant Research recently said in a report that Microsoft is a market leader in the Internet of Things industry. The research firm graded several industry players, including Amazon and IBM, based on different metrics such as vision, market strategy, partners, technology, geographic reach, sales and distribution and solution performance. As such, Microsoft has to be considered one of the most promising IoT stocks to own right now.
Microsoft is well-aware of the potential of the Internet of Things industry. Market research firm Gartner estimates that there will be over 20.8 billion IoT devices deployed by the end of 2020. Bain & Co. estimates that the total market worth of Internet of Things by 2020 will be $470 billion. As such, IoT stocks have immense growth potential.
Microsoft’s IoT-based apps and platforms for Cloud are now being adapted by several big companies worldwide. At the CES 2018, kitchen products company Kohler revealed its Kohler Konnect app and platform that lets users automate everyday tasks. Kohler’s new app and platform is powered by Microsoft’s Cortana assistant and Azure Cloud platform. Kohler Konnect also works with Google and Amazon assistants. Kohler devices first connect users to Wifi and then to Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub.
Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform forms the basis of the all processing taking place in IoT devices. In that respect, it is like the Windows of IoT. Azure IoT platform could also be used in industrial environments to increase productivity and profitability. It can also analyze data for additional insights. The Azure IoT platform also provides a predictive maintenance solution.
Analysts think that Microsoft is gaining advantage over Amazon with its server-less programming feature in Azure IoT platform. The feature is the result of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s vision of “intelligent edge.” Developers can create ready-to-use machine learning models in Azure IoT Edge to be used in different Internet of Things devices. In December, Microsoft launched a public preview of IoT Central, its software-as-a-service solution for the Internet of Things.
Perhaps the biggest advantage Microsoft has over other IoT stocks is its ability to form an ecosystem of its products and services. The company has a huge penetration in the Enterprise. Microsoft can sell its IoT, Cloud and productivity apps as a suite to big companies. Azure IoT Suite is a pay-as-you-go IoT-optimized PaaS that offers pre-configured templates for all the common scenarios faced by IoT developers.