Microsoft is launching a public preview of a location-based Azure cloud service that's designed to integrate well with Internet of things deployments and asset tracking.
Azure Location Based Services will be powered by TomTom's Online APIs, but can leverage other location technologies in the future. Azure LBS will use the same billion, account and APIs as other Azure services.
Microsoft's aim is to give cloud developers geospatial data that can be integrated with smart city and Internet of things deployments. Target industries include manufacturing, automotive, logistics, smart cities and retail. A year ago, Microsoft laid out plans to integrate geographic data with Azure.
Sam George, partner director of Microsoft Azure IoT, said Microsoft LBS is aimed at providing one dashboard to manage services and templates enterprises can use to track assets. "As cloud and IoT transform businesses, geospatial data capabilities are needed for connected devices and assets," said George. "Many of these assets move and monitoring and viewing them in a location is important. It's part of a broader IoT digital feedback loop."
The capabilities in Azure LBS--mapping, search, routing, traffic and time zones--are designed to be used for everything from asset tracking for transportation fleets as well as autonomous driving.
Cubic Telecom, an Irish telecommunications company for the automotive industry, built a proof of concept that uses Azure LBS to visualize existing locations of electric vehicle charging stations. Here's a look at Cubic Telecom's charging station finder.
Fathym, an IoT company, is using Azure LBS to visualize road conditions for Alaska's department of transportation. Fathym's road and route weather forecasting will be introduced at the LA Auto Show.
Azure LBS can be used as part of a broader suite or as a standalone service. Azure LBS will have consumption based pricing and George noted that enterprise location data is private. For the public preview, Azure Location Based Services will offer a two tiered pricing model - a set of free transactions per account and then 1,000 transactions for $0.50.
General availability will be in calendar 2018.