Tag Archives: solutions

Intelligent Retail

At NRF Microsoft will showcase connected solutions for customer engagement, workforce empowerment, operational insights, and business transformation that combine the excitement of the latest innovations around Artificial Intelligence, Mixed Reality, Internet of Things & Blockchain technologies with the trust of the industry’s most reliable and secure platform. Together with our customers and partners, Microsoft is building the future of intelligent retail.

From digital experiences that make shopping fun and rewarding, to the productivity and collaboration solutions that allow retail employees to provide outstanding customer service, to the intelligent systems that provide deep insights and empower advanced decision making and personalization. Microsoft is transforming the future of retail by empowering people throughout the shopping experience. 

Questions? Contact us here.

Booth Tours:

Thank you for your interest in a booth tour with Microsoft at NRF 2018 in New York, New York.

Join us on a Booth Tour. Explore our latest and greatest industry solutions and hear firsthand stories of innovation from your industry peers as to how they are transforming their business. Booth Tours are 45 minutes in length, and are first-come, first-served – complete the request form below to secure your spot.

Booth Tours

Request 1:1 Briefing:

Do you have a specific business challenge or topic you’d like to discuss with a Microsoft executive? Then let’s meet one on one. We’ll take the time to understand your business and demonstrate the significant ways Microsoft can help you realize your potential.

Please click on the link below and complete the information as thoroughly as possible so we may assign an appropriate Microsoft representative to meet with you.

1:1 Briefing

Startup Showcase:

The extremely popular Microsoft NRF Startup Showcase is back for 2018! This exclusive, invitation-only event will host more than a dozen disruptors in retail technology. Please contact your account executive directly to RSVP. Each company will showcase select solutions that help retailers and brands to thrive in today’s competitive environment. Major global retailers have credited the 2017 event with inspiring fresh, strategic conversations around reimagining retail. These engagements will be hosted at the Microsoft 5th Avenue Flagship Store and has a capacity of 40 guests per event. Please note: unless previously arranged, we are unable to offer private showcase events for individual customer accounts.

Sunday, January 14 | 4:00PM-6:00PM
Monday, January 15 | 4:00PM-6:00PM
Tuesday, January 16 | 4:00PM-6:00PM
Wednesday, January 17 | 4:00PM-6:00PM

Please contact your account executive directly to RSVP.

Get a FREE pass:

Are you a retailer? Retailers are eligible for FREE passes to the event. Register for your pass here by entering your company name, email address and the Microsoft Customer referral code below.

Code: 831

Having trouble registering? Your company might not have a membership with NRF. Non-members are still eligible for a pass, but will need to contact nrfconcierge@nrf.com for assistance.

Microsoft showcases latest industrial IoT innovations at SPS 2017

We are excited to extend our lead in standards-based Industrie 4.0 cloud solutions using the industrial interoperability standard OPC UA, with several new product announcements at SPS IPC Drives 2017 in Nuernberg, Europe’s leading industrial automation exhibition, which takes place next week.

We continue to be the only cloud provider that offers both OPC UA client/server as well as the upcoming (in OPC UA version 1.04) Publish/Subscribe communication pattern to the cloud and back with open-source modules for easy connection to existing machines, without requiring changes to these machines and without requiring opening the on-premises firewall. We achieve this though the two Azure IoT Edge modules OPC Proxy and OPC Publisher, which are available open-source on GitHub and as Docker containers on DockerHub.

As previously announced, we have now contributed an open-source OPC UA Global Discovery Server (GDS) and Client to the OPC Foundation GitHub. This contribution now brings us close to the 4.5 million source lines of contributed code landmark, keeping us in the lead as largest contributor of open-source software to the OPC Foundation. This server can be run in a container and used for self-hosting in the OT network.

Additionally at SPS, Microsoft will demo its commercial, fully Azure IoT integrated version of the GDS and accompanying client at the OPC Foundation booth. This version runs as part of the Azure IoT Edge offering made available to the public last week.

We have continued to release monthly updates to our popular open-source Azure IoT Suite Connected Factory preconfigured solution which we launched at Hannover Messe this year. Most recently, we have updated the look and feel to be in line with the new set of preconfigured solutions currently being released. We will continue to release new versions of the Connected Factory on a monthly basis with improvements and new features, so check them out on a regular basis.

Our OPC UA Gateway program also keeps growing rapidly. Since we launched the program just six months ago at Hannover Messe, we now have 13 partners signed up including Softing, Unified Automation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Kepware, Cisco, Beckhoff, Moxa, Advantech, Nexcom, Prosys OPC, MatrikonOPC, Kontron, and Hilscher.

Furthermore, we are excited to announce that the Industrial IoT Starter Kit, previously announced at OPC Day Europe, is now available to order online from our partner Softing. The kit empowers companies to securely link their production line from the physical factory floor to the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite Connected Factory in less than one day. This enables the management, collection, and analysis of OPC UA telemetry data in a centralized way to gain valuable business insights immediately and improve operational efficiency. As with all our Industrial IoT products, this kit uses OPC UA, but also comes with a rich PLC protocol translation software from Softing called dataFEED OPC Suite. It comes with industry-grade hardware from Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the form of the HPE GL20 IoT Gateway. Swing by the Microsoft booth to check it out and get the chance to try it out for 6 months in your own industrial installation.

Stop by our booth in Hall 6, as well as the OPC Foundation booth in Hall 7 to see all of this for yourself!

Benefits of public cloud: Unilog’s Google adoption

Unilog Content Solutions Pvt. Ltd.’s shift to the public cloud involves considerably more than obtaining a new place to park its IT infrastructure.

The e-commerce company, based in Bangalore, India, with North American headquarters in Wayne, Pa., traditionally offered its core B2B software platform through a private cloud hosted in a colocation facility. Unilog, however, wanted to speed up customer deployments, improve its ability to scale and lower its operating costs. The company decided the anticipated benefits of public cloud could deliver on those requirements. 

Swamy Mahesh, CTO and vice president of U.S. operations at Unilog, said Unilog selected Google’s public cloud from a short list of providers that included Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace. The company also hired Agosto Inc., a Google cloud partner based in Minneapolis, Minn., to provide support and consulting services.

Unilog worked with Agosto to establish a strategic roadmap for public cloud adoption, which kicked off with a lift-and-shift migration from Unilog’s private hosted setting to Google. The task involved moving Unilog’s virtual machines to the new environment and optimizing them for Google Cloud.

The initial migration soon led to other opportunities for improvement.

“It became apparent that strategic challenges were on the end of that” lift-and-shift phase, said Rick Erickson, executive vice president at Agosto. He said his company conducted a cloud modernization analysis to uncover ways Unilog could operate more efficiently.

Benefits of public cloud

Among the business benefits of Unilog’s public cloud migration is the ability to speed up the task of bringing new customers on board its e-commerce platform. In its private cloud environment, the process of getting a newly acquired client onto the system could take several days.

Customer onboarding is much faster.
Swamy MaheshCTO and vice president of U.S. operations, Unilog

“We had to constantly add hardware to the racks and set it up,” Mahesh said, noting the manual labor involved. “It was not a scalable model.”

“Unilog was going through significant growth with their customer base and had a backlog of customers and one of the [factors] causing the backlog was the time it took to procure infrastructure and launch new customers,” Erickson said.

But with the cloud and an improved customer onboarding process, Unilog can now bring a new customer onto its system in about a day, according to Unilog.

“Customer onboarding is much faster,” Mahesh said.

The cloud move also helps with disaster recovery. Unilog had previously needed to consider multiple colocation spaces for redundancy purposes, a pursuit that Mahesh said amounts to “reinventing what a good cloud has already done.”

Multi-tenant shift

The benefits of public cloud also surfaced on the application software side. In Unilog’s case, the company used the occasion of the cloud refit to take a look at its application stack. The company’s e-commerce platform was based on providing each client a single-customer instance of its software under a perpetual license. Unilog, however, wanted to transition to a software-as-a-service subscription model and multi-tenancy.

The multi-tenant version of its Unilog’s e-commerce software also contributes to improved efficiency and faster customer deployments, since it allows the company to maintain and update a single image of its application. But the approach also introduces challenges, which Unilog continues to work through.

Mahesh cited differences among clients with regard to data growth rates and the resulting traffic on each client’s network pipes as one example. Another design and development challenge of multi-tenancy: accommodating different use cases across multiple customers.

Unilog is now looking to further optimize its processes as it supports a mixed customer base — some use the multi-tenant version of its platform and others continue to use the legacy system.