Just two days after launching its Space Cloud, Microsoft has joined forces with Honeywell to deploy new cloud and AI innovations to modernize the aging but essential industrial landscape here on planet Earth.
The partnership underscores two powerful trends playing major roles in transforming the digital economy:
- Microsoft’s relentless efforts to force-multiply its impact and capabilities via sweeping and often-unprecedented engagements with customers that not only reshape that particular business but also disrupt entire industries; and
- the rapid and high-impact development of industry-specific solutions co-created in close concert by the Cloud Wars Top 10 vendors and their boldest and most forward-looking customers. In this particular case, the emergence of Honeywell as a high-potential player in what we’ll call an industry-specific cloud is a preview of what we’ll be sure to see across every industry on Earth.
Using Azure as the foundation, Microsoft and Honeywell plan to develop a series of what they’re calling “domain-specific applications” powered by AI and aimed at helping industrial companies deploy data-driven processes to boost productivity and efficiency and chop away at operating costs.
The first release also weaves in the Field Service application from Microsoft Dynamics with Honeywell’s purpose-built industrial cloud. Now, I have to admit that one of the things I particularly like about this purpose-built cloud from Honeywell is its name.
Founded in 1906, Honeywell has a long and proud history as an industrial innovator across a variety of market segments, and I’m delighted the company didn’t hire some high-fallutin’ “innovative name-creation agency” to come up with some artsy-fartsy moniker like “NimbuTopia” or “Cloudana”.
No, Honeywell did the right thing in selecting the name for its industrial cloud, which proudly proclaims not only the company’s manufacturing heritage but also its digital-technology future: Honeywell Forge.
Here’s how the two companies described the first application to emerge from this partnership:
By integrating the AI-driven autonomous controls of the Honeywell Forge enterprise performance management software with Microsoft Dynamics Field Service, customers will be able to access operating data that includes workflow management support to improve performance and energy efficiency within the enterprise environment.
And here’s an overview of the Honeywell Forge Digitized Maintenance solution from a presentation released by Honeywell and Microsoft:
These solutions are part of Honeywell’s relatively new Connected Enterprise business. And in this press-release comment from the CEO of that unit, it’s perfectly clear that Honeywell intends to use its new digital forge to manufacture powerful new AI capabilities for other industrial companies.
“Honeywell’s partnership with Microsoft will deliver new value to our customers as we help them solve business challenges by digitizing their operations,” said Que Dallara, president and CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise. “Working with Microsoft, Honeywell will bring solutions at scale – powered by AI-driven insights and more access to data – that will enable our customers to work more efficiently than ever before.”
This deep fusion of industrial expertise and operational technology with world-class information technology calls to mind not only some other big partnerships that Microsoft has recently done, but also an impressive one involving Amazon Web Services and Carrier: Rumble in the Cloud: Amazon Battling Google, SAP, Microsoft in Sizzling New Market. (On the Cloud Wars Top 10, Amazon is #2 behind #1 Microsoft.)
Indeed, this surge into industry-specific solutions has become one of my favorite areas to analyze over the past few months—here’s a sample:
- Look Out, Google and SAP: Microsoft Jumping into Red-Hot Industry Solutions
- #1 Microsoft and #4 Google Are Facing a Wicked Cloud Challenge
- Google Launches New Era in Cloud with AI-Powered Industry Solutions
- Google and SAP Fusing Cloud and AI in Next-Gen Apps for Industries
- SAP’s Secret Weapon: Month-Old Industry Cloud Already ‘Growth Driver’
- Hey Microsoft: Google Cloud Is Pushing You Out as SAP’s #1 Cloud Partner
- SAP Will Battle Microsoft & Google for Customer Control, Says CEO Christian Klein
- Google Cloud Helps Drive Triple-Digit Online Growth at Lowe’s
- Microsoft Top 10 Customers for Digital Transformation: the Satya Nadella Touch
In that context, it is clear that The Next Big Thing in the cloud is the aggressive move by all the major cloud players to move more deeply into vertical markets and to do so wherever possible in extreme collaboration with customers.
And what we begin to see as the next front in the Cloud Wars is that customers are now also becoming contestants.
Fascinating stuff, to be sure. And here at Cloud Wars, we’ll continue to stay on top of this extraordinary trend.
Disclosure: at the time of this writing, Google Cloud, SAP and Oracle were among the many clients of Cloud Wars Media LLC and/or Evans Strategic Communications LLC.
Subscribe to the Cloud Wars Newsletter for in-depth analysis of the major cloud vendors from the perspective of business customers. It’s free, it’s exclusive and it’s great!