The partnerships this week for Microsoft have been fast and furious, including Tuesday's news that it's working with Nokia. Nokia is bringing its networking capabilities, which span IoT, SD-WAN and 5G, into Microsoft's cloud solutions to help drive enterprises' digital transformations, while enabling service providers to offer new services to their enterprise customers.
Landing the deal with Microsoft was a big win for Nokia. Its competitors include Cisco, Ericsson and Huawei.
Microsoft’s Azure, Azure IoT, Azure AI and machine learning solutions are being blended into Nokia’s LTE and 5G-ready private wireless solutions, IP, SD-WAN, and IoT connectivity offerings.
The two companies said their collaborative effort would drive the adoption of the fourth industry revolution, which is known as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 uses automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes that include cyber-physical systems, the internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI).
“Bringing together Microsoft’s and Nokia’s expertise in cloud, AI, IoT and networking will unlock new connectivity and automation scenarios,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president, Microsoft Azure, in a statement “We’re excited about the opportunities this will create for our joint customers across industries.”
The Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (Nokia DAC) 5G-ready industrial-grade private wireless broadband platform will be upgraded with on-premise Azure elements. Those Azure enhancements will enable a variety of secure industrial automation solutions that require more reliable connectivity, efficient coverage and better mobility than traditional Wi-Fi networks provide.
In a similar vein to SD-WAN announcements this week with Cisco and Silver Peak, Nokia’s Nuage SD-WAN 2.0 will allow service providers to offer integration with Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN for branch-to-cloud connectivity, with the companies planning to offer more options for branch internet connectivity next year.
BT is the first global service provider to offer its enterprise customers a managed service that melds Microsoft Azure cloud with Nokia's Nuage SD-WAN technology. BT customers can access the service via Microsoft Lighthouse customer automated delegated rights service, which enables BT to manage both the customer Azure vWAN and the Agile Connect SD-WAN that is based on Nokia’s Nuage SD-WAN 2.0.
The two companies are also blending Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) with Azure IoT Central to make the on-boarding, deployment, management and servicing of IoT solutions seamless. Enterprises will be able to use Azure IoT Central and partner solutions for faster and easier enablement and implementation of their IoT applications in conjunction with Nokia’s IoT connectivity solutions.
Microsoft and Nokia are also working on putting Nokia's Analytics, Virtualization, and Automation cognitive services platform on Microsoft's Azure cloud. Those AI solutions will help service providers to move out of private data centers and into the Azure cloud to cut costs and transform operations for 5G. Nokia cited predictive Video Analytics is an example of a joint solution that will ensure optimal video experience for CSP subscribers, improving reliability by up to 60%.
“We are thrilled to unite Nokia’s mission-critical networks with Microsoft’s cloud solutions,” said Kathrin Buvac, president of Nokia Enterprise and chief strategy officer, in a statement. “Together, we will accelerate the digital transformation journey towards Industry 4.0, driving economic growth and productivity for both enterprises and service providers.”
Microsoft also announced partnerships with Colt Technology Services and Cisco this week, among others.