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Microsoft continues its startup shopping spree with news it acquired Italian Internet of Things (IoT) firm Solair for an undisclosed amount.
Solair provides software for companies to connect all internet devices to a hub and a hardware gateway to interface with the cloud. Microsoft Azure IoT partner director, Sam George, said that Solair’s services will be integrated with the Azure IoT suite.
“Solair’s IoT customization and deployment solutions, built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, are engineered to help businesses in any industry utilize IoT to run more efficiently and profitably,” said George. “For example, Solair has brought the power of IoT to Rancilio’s full line of espresso machines, allowing the Italian manufacturer to remotely monitor machines resulting in greater efficiency across the supply chain. Using the power of cloud-based data and analytics, Solair has helped Rancilio reduce costs and increase revenue.”
The acquisition is one of many for Microsoft under Satya Nadella, who has put a keen focus on the cloud. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced 140 percent growth in its Azure business, with 88 percent growth in cloud computing revenue.
“The integration of Solair’s technology into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite will continue to enhance our complete IoT offering for the enterprise,” said George. “We’ll have more specifics to share about how Solair is helping us build the intelligent cloud in the future. In the meantime, I’d like to reiterate my welcome to the Solair team.”
Microsoft is competing with Amazon, Salesforce.com, Google, IBM, and a few other big names in the cloud computing business. Amazon is way ahead, at $10 billion in sales to Microsoft’s $6.3 billion, but the future of integrated systems and IoT makes it an open field where anyone with a smart idea and enough talent can take the lead.
Autonomous car adoption worldwide is going to have a major knock-on effect on most industries that rely on humans driving cars.
One industry that may see a severe downturn in revenue is the auto insurance industry, according to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. The billionaire investor said to CNBC “anything that makes cars safer is very pro-social, and bad for the auto insurance industry.”
Cars have been made way, way safer, but now when you start making the driver safer, that would be a big jump, and that will happen someday, and when it happens there will be a lot less auto insurance written.”
Buffett’s holdings company manages Geico, one of the largest auto insurance companies in the United States. For the past 15 years, Geico has increased its revenue, but the onset of autonomous vehicles might see a downturn in the company’s success.
Autonomous vehicle manufacturers might also take it upon themselves to self-insure, rather than have the customer spend thousands in insurance costs for a car controlled by the manufacturer’s software.
We might even see a half-and-half solution, where automakers are willing to insure for accidents that happen due to a flaw in the software, but not if the customer takes control of the vehicle and has an accident.
Either way, the likelihood of an accident on the road is bound to fall, which will make auto insurance less expensive; one would hope.
Autonomous cars are also going to change how many miles cars rack up in a year, according to research from the University of Michigan. In the study, the team found that autonomous cars may allow families to downsize to one car and use the car for other purposes while they’re at work, like picking up the kids, shopping, or renting the car to a taxi service like Uber or Lyft for pick-ups.
That might benefit auto repairs, since the car will spend more time on the road, causing issues with tires and the engine to arise quicker. Google has already made note of the potential uptake in repair shops, to reassure the industry that there’s still some future for them in the autonomous world.
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