Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Microsoft and Cradlepoint integrate service to help enterprises

Steve Rogerson
February 7, 2019

In a keynote address at last week’s IoT Evolution Expo in Florida, Microsoft and Idaho-based Cradlepoint announced they were integrating their services to help enterprises build IoT products.
Cradlepoint specialises in cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge products. The platform integration with Microsoft Azure should make it faster and easier for enterprises to build their own IoT products and services.
The integration includes Cradlepoint’s NetCloud edge connector for Azure IoT Central to help simplify and accelerate the process of building and deploying IoT applications and devices.
According to a recent study by Cisco, 74 per cent of IoT initiatives fell short of achieving success with 54 per cent citing the lack of collaboration between IT and other business units and 48 per cent attributing it to a lack of IoT expertise. The platform integration between Microsoft and Cradlepoint helps provide operational technology (OT) teams the freedom and ability to build and deploy IoT services that improve business competitiveness and efficiency, while giving IT teams the tools they need to ensure secure, reliable and compliant device connectivity at the wide-area-network  (WAN) edge.
“The mission of Azure IoT Central is to improve the success rate and time to value of enterprise IoT projects by reducing development complexity and IT integration challenges,” said Tony Shakib, general manager of Azure IoT. “With Cradlepoint, we are extending this mission by addressing one of the key issues that threatens successful IoT outcomes – enabling IT to deliver secure and reliable IoT device connectivity across the WAN.”
Azure IoT Central is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) that lets users build and deploy production-grade IoT applications in hours without cloud computing experience or specialised skills. Cradlepoint will join the Azure IoT Central partner programme allowing the two companies to collaborate on marketing it to enterprise and public sector users.
Cradlepoint will offer a pre-built integration for its NetCloud service, called NetCloud Edge Connector for Azure IoT Central, that allows organisations to connect IoT devices to applications built on the Azure IoT Central platform with complete visibility, security and control. For example, a vendor that uses kiosks in airports, campuses or storefronts can develop and deploy a new IoT service to monitor the video terminal, door alarm, temperature and WAN connectivity of the application running in the kiosk. Previously, developing this would require complex application programming and introduce significant network connectivity and management challenges.
“Our State of IoT 2018 highlights the nature of enterprise IoT with 69 per cent of customers having either deployed or planning to deploy IoT, with 53 per cent developing their own solutions, which includes leveraging their own WAN,” said George Mulhern, chief executive officer at Cradlepoint. “The prevailing go-it-alone approach is the catalyst behind our Microsoft partnership and integration with Azure IoT Central. We are committed to helping IT teams deliver secure and reliable connectivity and accelerate IoT time-to-value for their business constituencies while providing a pathway to 5G in the future.”
The offering provides a blank canvas for rapidly developing, deploying and managing custom IoT applications for specific users, use cases and industries without them having to invest in cloud infrastructure or specialised resources.
“The Microsoft and Cradlepoint integration of the NetCloud and Azure IoT Central platforms is a huge win for companies seeking to build their own IoT solutions,” said James Brehm, founder and chief technology evangelist at James Brehm & Associates. “The new partnership promises to help bridge the OT and IT collaboration gap, improve IoT project outcomes and finally put the IT back into IoT.”
The NetCloud Edge Connector for Azure IoT Central provides a simple-to-setup, reliable and secure edge-to-cloud connection for sending IoT data directly into Azure IoT Central and runs on select Cradlepoint wireless routers for branch, mobile and IoT networking. It includes an update to the NetCloud NCOS operating system as well as simplified workflow within NetCloud Manager. It is scheduled for limited availability in April for active subscribers to the Cradlepoint NetCloud service
Founded in 2006, Cradlepoint is a privately held company headquartered in Boise, Idaho, with a development centre in Silicon Valley and offices in the UK and Australia.