Microsoft is launching a new Azure service that aims to meet the geospatial needs of enterprise customers that use location data.
Azure Location Based Services are integrated directly into Azure, which means enterprise customers can add Location Based Services to their existing Azure cloud solutions.
These new location capabilities will provide cloud developers with geographical data to power a multitude of use cases, including Internet of Things (IoT) asset tracking, fleet management, logistics, automotive, urban planning and retail.
TomTom will supply the location data for the service.
Customers can also leverage TomTom’s global community and partner network, whose users provide active and passive map and traffic data insights.
TomTom’s Anders Truelsen, managing director of BU Licensing, says “We chose to partner with Microsoft because it has expertise in scaling globally with enterprise customers and shares a joint vision with TomTom to make location a fundamental aspect of the cloud.”
“Mapmaking is in TomTom’s DNA. By building on top of Microsoft’s cloud, we believe this will make our data more accessible than ever and will empower developers to use our APIs to light up mapping scenarios for both consumer and commercial customers.”
Additionally, Azure Location Based Services customers will benefit from contributions of hundreds of millions of connected devices worldwide.
Azure Location Based Services include a set of APIs that provide mapping, search, routing, traffic and time zones that will be available through Azure.
Sam George, director, Microsoft Azure IoT, comments “As IoT continues to transform businesses by providing breakthrough insights and capabilities for connected assets, location is becoming an important aspect to consider.”
“For instance, a department of transportation can now use Azure Location Based Services to analyze and improve traffic in congested cities, freight companies can provide improved fleet management and logistics, and all businesses can track the location of assets and be notified when their location changes.”
Several service providers in the mobility space have been testing Azure Location Based Services in private preview.
Cubic Telecom, an Irish-based global telecommunications service provider in the IoT and automotive sectors, has built a proof of concept that uses the services to rank the effectiveness of the charging station placements and suggest new charging locations based on network hotspots using their aggregated (and anonymous) connectivity data.
Fathym, a U.S. based IoT solutions company, is using the services to help cities and government agencies visualize road weather conditions on a map and optimize for other routes if weather conditions are unsafe.
Esri also intends to join Azure Location Based Services to provide business customers with a complete set of location data management, digital mapping and geographic analytics, provided through Esri’s ArcGIS suite and developer APIs.
“We are excited to partner with Microsoft on its Azure Location Based Services,” comments Christopher Cappelli, vice president of Global Business Development and Sales, Esri.
“Microsoft and Esri have been strategic partners with one another for more than 20 years and have joint customers all over the world. Our joint customers have already benefitted from incorporating their existing Esri ArcGIS systems using our GeoEvent Server with Microsoft’s Azure cloud and Azure IoT solutions.”
“Others interested in incorporating location services into their apps and systems can also immediately take advantage of our complete array of capabilities for mapping and analytics.”