Microsoft’s Internet of Things software program, Azure, is getting a location intelligence boost from Dutch navigation software company TomTom.
The deal, which has its roots in an earlier Microsoft alliance struck last December, has Tom Tom being integrated into the recently rolled out Azure Location Business Services. As such, Microsoft Azure clients will now be able apply a wide array of TomTom API services under the Microsoft IoT brand including search and geocoding, routing, traffic, and maps.
Microsoft hopes that Tom Tom’s capabilities will give it a competitive edge in the cloud computing space, particularly when it comes to serving connected cars and autonomous vehicles, areas that both companies have been pursuing independently.
For example, the integration appears poised to build on Microsoft’s extended client agreement with digital mapping platform HERE which was made at around the same time as the Redmond software giant’s arrangement with TRom Tom in December 2016.
Microsoft’s earlier deal with HERE went beyond the usual alliances for location marketing services, and instead is intended to pave the way for both companies to connect a broad range of data to meet the demands of the Internet of Things era.
Microsoft’s work with HERE and Tom Tom are focused broadly on powering data and services in connected cars with a view to improving in-car productivity.
For example, as Microsoft gains greater access to intelligence on mapping, traffic, and weather data could be combined with a driver’s schedule and to-do lists for personalized planning and routing.
As Microsoft describes it, Azure LBS customers are “guaranteed” trusted location data through TomTom’s “unique feedback loop ecosystem” – a global community of users continually providing map and traffic data resulting in richer content and more trustworthy data.
It also presents new options for customization and opportunities beyond connected cars to power smart cities, IoT and industrial applications in sectors ranging from manufacturing to retail to automotive. For instance, scenarios for cities could include using Azure LBS to analyze, influence and improve traffic.
Location data could help businesses manage logistics, optimize fleets and track customer engagement. For automakers, they could use the location based services as a tool to help them re-route drivers away from accidents, or find commutes that have better cell coverage for on-the-go work calls.
“Location is increasingly becoming an essential component to monitor, analyze and optimize the vast amount of connected devices. Adding location based services to Azure will create a more fluid and flexible platform for developers to build and manage these location-aware applications,” says Anders Truelsen, Managing Director of BU Licensing. “We’re excited to be working with a company like Microsoft to make our data more accessible than ever.”
“TomTom equips us with the infrastructure to provide updates quickly and incrementally to our customers, enabling us to provide the most up-to-date information,” adds Sam George, Partner Director of Azure IoT. “We’re excited about this partnership and the benefits it will bring to our millions of Azure users as well as the impact this will have in advancing the technological future forward.”