Into the future
At the moment, Microsoft has three IoT/AI labs. One is on the company’s campus in Redmond, Washington, and the others are in Shenzhen, China and Munich, Germany. Dallas said that he’s happy with the number of locations currently available for the moment, but plans to expand the program in the future.
Microsoft is measuring the success of the labs based on how many companies are able to bring their products to market faster as a result of their engagement.
That’s how the company will see a benefit from the program, after all: The major revenue opportunity for Microsoft Azure comes from having many of these IoT devices deployed in the world and driving consumption of cloud services.
Hardware requires a long lead time, so it could be months if not years before IoT/AI Labs graduates have products available for purchase.
The labs are open for any interested organization to apply, if they think they’re a good fit for the program. Dallas said Microsoft selects companies based on whether the lab can reduce their time to market, and if the company can add unique value to the product in development.
While Azure usage is a clear benefit to Microsoft, entering the lab doesn’t require a commitment to use the company’s cloud platform, according to Richardson.
Microsoft is also using feedback from customers who come through the labs to refine its products going forward.
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