This week, Microsoft announced its plans of starting journey next with titans in mapping technology TomTom, HERE, and Esri, joined together to build a geospatial data index that will provide location-based services across Microsoft services and technologies.
Through this partnership, Microsoft said, its bold ambition is to create the next "world graph," a new data index of physical places, objects and devices and their interconnectivity. The company already has a number of stable "data indexes" such as Bing knowledge graph, Office Graph, and rececntly acquired LinkedIn professional graph.
With TomTom brings in to Microsoft advanced location technologies including High Definition Map and RoadDNA technology for autonomous driving. The company said that by integrating location-based services into Microsoft Azure, "developers will be able to build and manage location-aware 'enterprise, mobile, web and Internet of Things (IoT) applications'."
The data in the coming world graph isn't just about mapping data for cars or other kinds of navigation. It will provide "a full suite of location capabilities across the company and Microsoft's developer ecosystem," a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed.
Another new agreement signed with HERE, allows Microsoft to "expand the uses of their data and services into productivity scenarios in cars." "We are entering a new era of services around connected cars in terms of safety, in-car productivity and making journeys more efficient," said HERE's exec.
HERE, a longtime Microsoft partner already powers location data in to many of Microsoft's services, including 'Bing, Cortana, Windows, Office, and Bing Maps API.'
Esri, a geographic information system (GIS) technology leader, recently made available a preview of ArcGIS Maps for Power BI for compelling visualizations, and will be a key partner in geospatial technology for enterprise customers, Microsoft said.
Esri is another longstanding Microsoft partner, whose "real-time ArcGIS runs on Azure, and that can ingest any real-time, location-based data, including weather data, social media feeds, live sensor data and location services data from companies like HERE and TomTom."
In the future, Microsoft said that they envision a platform for customers with options for customization and opportunities to power smart cities, IoT and industrial transformation, from manufacturing to retail to automotive. Scenarios, for this open platform include "connected cars that combine up-to-date mapping, traffic and weather data with a driver's schedule, to-do lists and preferences for personalized planning and routing," writes Microsoft.
In another scenario, cities could use location-based services to analyze, influence and improve traffic. And, with the location data, "businesses can manage logistics, optimize fleets and track customer engagement."
As 2016 near wraps up, Microsoft is on track to meet its goal of sourcing 50 percent of its datacenter electricity from wind, solar and hydropower. It's also creating new financial and technology models that can accelerate adoption of renewal energy.
With that in mind, the company shares four its green technology predictions for 2017:
- Transformation of utility energy management with the Internet of Things and cloud computing
- Emergence of water as the next critical, world-scale environmental challenge
- Better understanding of the planet through new data applications
- More organizations and policy makers leveraging cloud-based technologies
In another wrap up post, the company shared top searches of 2016 made on its Bing search engine, see the video below: