AT&T, the world’s largest telecommunication company, and tech major Microsoft have extended the scope of their partnership to enable enterprises to deliver secure and seamless connectivity of IoT devices. As AT&T and Microsoft join forces, the technology convergence of both these companies is likely to spearhead futuristic IoT deployments for organizations of diverse nature.
As part of the partnership, AT&T will continue to use Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure and work together to launch integrated IoT solutions with Azure Sphere. Unveiled in 2018, Azure Sphere is a secured, high-level application platform with built-in communication and tailored design to support internet-connected device and edge applications. Azure is the first fully open source-based product designed by Microsoft.
This announcement is part of the AT&T-Microsoft multi-year pact signed by the two companies last year. The deal was reportedly valued at $2 billion and gave exclusive rights to Microsoft as AT&T’s non-network applications preferred cloud provider. The agreement also encompasses collaboration on developing new 5G, cloud, and edge computing solutions to drive enterprise capabilities for diverse companies worldwide.
Addressing IoT security issues with the new solution
Leveraging each other’s capabilities, AT&T has unveiled a cellular technology-based enterprise device, branded as a guardian device. Guardian will run on Microsoft’s Azure Sphere and AT&T’s multi-layered secure core network to deliver a secure cloud connection that evades the public internet.
“The solution provides fast and highly secure activation right out of the box. It enables enterprises to easily connect existing equipment to the cloud and Azure IoT Central. With this, a wide variety of industries can rapidly deploy IoT applications relying on the combined security benefits of the AT&T cellular network with Azure Sphere device security,” says the joint company statement.
The device, designed to be self-installed and self-provisioned, aims to help businesses scale internet of things (IoT) deployments to transform their operations quickly.
Focus on digital transformation capabilities
In the wake of COVID-19 and the new work environment, organizations worldwide have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives. Most of the telecom service providers and tech majors are taking M&A or the partnership route to develop edge computing capabilities. (See: Infosys buys GuideVision to boost Dx capabilities)
With the coming of 5G mobile connectivity, a whole new set of possibilities have emerged, allowing businesses to deliver live, immersive, and real-time experiences from a remote location.
As such, the fight for gaining a competitive edge over others for rising new-age technologies such as IoT and automation is getting more fierce.
Microsoft and AT&T, too, have set their sights on the growing digital transformation solutions market. In April this year, both these companies also announced that they were partnering to bring ultra-low-latency edge computing for many enterprise customers.