Microsoft and BMW launched a Cloud-powered initiative to create an Open Manufacturing Platform that seeks to accelerate the development of smart factories.
BMW is already a Cloud customer of Microsoft. Microsoft in 2014 said the automobile major deployed SQL Server 2014 Availability Groups and met its 99.999 percent availability requirement, performed system maintenance without affecting business operations.
The agreement between Germany-based BMW and US-based Microsoft is the second alliance of its kind in a week after Germany-based Volkswagen and Amazon Web Services (AWS) teamed up to connect the German car maker’s 122 group plants in order to improve production systems and processes.
Both deals reflect a push by cloud computing providers to capture and manage the terabytes of data thrown off by the network of connected devices such as robots and sensors that make up the Internet of Things (IoT), Reuters reported.
A Microsoft study shows that 60 percent of German employees believe that digital technologies improve the competitiveness of their organization, while providing opportunities for personal development, making work more fun, and enabling them to achieve a better work-life balance.
“Microsoft is joining forces with the BMW Group to transform digital production efficiency across the industry,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group at the Hanover Messe industrial trade fair.
The platform will be built on the Microsoft Azure IIoT cloud platform, which BMW already uses. Its reference architecture will be based on open-source standards, an approach designed to encourage other partners to join in.
Munich-based BMW is making investment in digital transformation in order to improve business efficiency.
Microsoft, in a statement, said the goal was to have an initial set of four to six partners in place by the end of 2019 and a minimum of 15 initial use cases deployed in a production setting.
BMW already has 3,000 machines, robots and autonomous transport systems connected with its own IIoT platform that is built on Microsoft Azure. It said it would contribute some of its initial use cases to the project.