Microsoft Azure, Nokia Partner on AI, IoT Initiatives

Microsoft Azure’s cloud solutions and Nokia’s mission-critical networking expertise are being combined to help both enterprises and communications service providers (CSPs) tackle new business opportunities in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more, the companies announced Nov. 5.

Microsoft’s Azure, Azure IoT, Azure AI and machine learning solutions are being combined with Nokia’s LTE and 5G-ready private wireless solutions, IP, SD-WAN and IoT connectivity offerings, with the aim of giving CSPs new ways to service enterprise customers, via better connectivity.

“Bringing together Microsoft’s expertise in intelligent cloud solutions and Nokia’s strength in building business and mission-critical networks will unlock new connectivity and automation scenarios,” said Jason Zander, EVP of Microsoft Azure. “We’re excited about the opportunities this will create for our joint customers across industries.”

British telecommunications firm BT will be the first to utilize the new partnership, offering its enterprise customers a managed service integrating Microsoft Azure cloud and Nokia SD-WAN solutions. BT customers will access the solution through a customer-automated delegated rights service, which enables BT to manage both the customer Azure vWAN and the unique Agile Connect SD-WAN (based on Nokia’s Nuage SD-WAN 2.0).

“We are thrilled to unite Nokia’s mission-critical networks with Microsoft’s cloud solutions,” said Kathrin Buvac, president and chief strategy officer of Nokia Enterprise. “Together, we will accelerate the digital transformation journey towards Industry 4.0, driving economic growth and productivity for both enterprises and service providers.”

Other solutions coming out of the partnership include Nokia’s 5G-ready, industrial-grade private wireless broadband solution — Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (Nokia DAC) — adding on-premise Azure elements, to enable a variety of secure industrial automation solutions, featuring more reliable connectivity, efficient coverage and better mobility than traditional WiFi networks.

Nokia’s Nuage SD-WAN 2.0 solution also will enable service providers to offer integration with Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN, for branch to cloud connectivity. The companies will offer more options for branch internet connectivity next year.

Additionally, the companies will integrate Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) with Azure IoT Central to make for seamless deployment, onboarding, management and servicing of IoT solutions, providing CSPs with the ability to offer enterprises a single platform to enable secure connected IoT services.

Lastly, Microsoft and Nokia will host Nokia’s Analytics, Virtualization and Automation (AVA) cognitive services solutions on Azure, AI solutions that enable CSPs to move out of private data centers and into the Azure cloud.