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Azure unlocks business opportunity with 5G and AIoT to drive digital transformation

Press release

Credit: DIGITIMES

In the post pandemic era, global supply chains are restructured and dramatically changed. As industries around the world accelerate their digital transformation to create new business opportunity, the technologies of 5G and AIoT are becoming the key driving forces. The mainstream sectors such as healthcare, retail and manufacturing continue increase the market demands. SYNNEX, an industry leader in IT distribution, hosts 5G and AIoT on-line event named "High speed connection to enable smart applications" in December 2021. The invited keynote speakers are from Microsoft Taiwan, Intel and ITRI. This event focused on several key topics including 5G, Robotics Operating System (ROS), Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and Edge Computing to help industrial players to enhance global competitiveness by applying smart applications.

Gartner has positioned Microsoft Azure IoT as a Leader of platform

Daniel Li, the director of Taiwan's Microsoft IoT Center of Excellence, in his keynote speech session, noted that 5G and AIoT technologies accelerating digital transformation. According to 2021 Magic Quadrant for Industrial IoT Platforms report, Gartner has positioned Microsoft Azure IoT as a Leader outperform other 11 industrial platforms. As Microsoft invested in capabilities to build Industrial IoT Platform, there were several key tenets including "Security first," "Open and Interoperable," "Edge and Cloud" and "Partner Led."

Microsoft Taiwan teams are execution-focused. While a rare rise in Taiwan community COVID-19 transmissions starting mid-May in 2021, the Taiwan Technical partners and Microsoft join development to deliver several software projects for helping to combat the epidemic, Li highlights. The results are fruitful. The first is the intelligent face mask body temperature detection system. This software package is published in the Github sites for free. The second system is monitoring silent hypoxia phenomenon. The third is social distancing detector and object detection model to segregate humans warning system. The forth is the use of the HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset for critical patient care to reduce the pressures on burnt out hospital staff.

In the other hand, he looks at 5G use cases with lots of viable high-speed data networking applications. Especially in the edge computing sectors, more and more AI-enabled inference systems emerge. The examples showing in his slides are ATTABOTICS's AGV systems, Tagtile's mixed reality training systems and Everseen's visual AI solution to detect and reduce customer errors at self-checkout gasoline stations.

Talking about Microsoft Azure for Operators offerings, this is dedicated for Telecoms to drive digital transformation and turn 5G mobile networks into new service revenue with new business models. Meanwhile, in the Azure security offerings provide highly secure cloud security and compliance standards products for enterprises and government organizations.

Azure IoT solution enabling more creative biz models for transformation

5G technologies enable not only mobile business but also private networks and IoT applications. Terry Chang, Microsoft Asia IoT Partner specialist from Global Partner Solution Team, talked about Azure IoT well-architected framework and solutions with use cases sharing.

The current Azure IoT framework provides multiple services including THINGS, INSIGHT and ACTION. These approaches will link IoT devices, platforms and applications. For example, the use of IoT Provision Services is very powerful platform to link massive devices. And Azure IoT Hub plays the role for bridging the key features such as DIGITAL Twins and IoT Edge in Action. There is a good example to show how MAERSK, a leading global integrated logistics company, using IoT Hub services to track container ship locations and schedules.

The existing pace of development for IoT solutions are based on tracking events to get the data for enhancing insights to better process utilization and decision making. For best fitting this requirements, Azure IoT offers built-in security features with data privacy and protection from smart edge nodes to the cloud. Taking smart scenarios of office space utilization as an example, Once Azure IoT Hub detecting the connected devices, the systems will consolidate the data of the consecutive events including people, locations and objects from Azure Digital Twins and Azure Data Service. This design is transforming office space Into Smart Space applications with Azure for improving business process by increasing working efficiency of stuff members and having better interactive actions with customers.

ROS with Azure showcasing AI edge applications for good landing use cases

Tommy Wu, Microsoft Senior IoT Technical Specialist from Global Partner Solution Team, gave his speech for the computer vision applications with ROS devices based on Azure AI/ML edge solutions. His focus is Azure IoT Edge to create a computer vision landing solution with trained AI models in the cloud environment. The benefits of an edge system are low latency performance and advantage. Computer vision leveraging the Azure AI spatial analysis feature offers the ability to understand people's movements in a physical space, significantly increasing efficiency to detect social distancing and object detection for counting humans across the different locations. Talking about AI model training, the Custom Vision Service is an image classifier that is trained in the cloud. This high efficient tools give the possibility to run AI model next to robotic cameras to recognize the objects for avoiding collision.

Azure IoT Security with a Zero Trust security model builds secure architecture

Burt Lien, Microsoft Senior IoT Technical Specialist from Global Partner Solution Team, talked about topic of Azure IoT Security. Microsoft has adopted a Zero Trust strategy to secure corporate and customer data from OT networks. It will help to protect data, people, devices and applications.

In this event, there was one session to talk about Azure Digital Twins. Philip Chen, Microsoft IoT Solution Architect does the presentation. Azure Digital Twins is a platform that creates a digital representation of real-world things, places, business processes, and people. Chen highlights DTDL, the language to describe models for simulating, learning, analyzing and predicting. After Chen's talk, National Measurement Laboratory (NML) Senior Engineer Lin showcases medical use case to apply Azure Digital Twins in surgical operation room. .

Intel offers ONNX Runtime to accelerate AI Inference from cloud to edge

The last session is presented by Neo Wong, Intel platform R&D manager. He talked to use Intel OpenVINO Toolkit for developing ONNX models, which is an open format built to represent machine learning models. Intel and Microsoft form the software stack bringing Interoperability to machine learning frameworks for accelerating AI at the edge. The AI models that are trained in the cloud need to be optimized to take advantage of the combination of the AI hardware and software. Then, running ONNX Runtime will apply AI inferencing at the edge nodes. This approach enables current ONNX models could running on many Intel hardware platforms including CPUs, GPUs and VPUs with ONNX Runtime and the Intel OpenVINO execution tools.

The combination of edge computing and powerful AI engines is becoming a key aspect of a successful digital business model for enterprises. And open source tools are at the heart of nearly every innovation in cloud computing. Meanwhile, the coming 5G and AIoT innovative business development environment and Azure cloud services empower enterprises to enable digital transformation. Leveraging Azure products and services to build applications make it easy to take advantage of this innovation and create the immense values.