Microsoft and BMW team up to build open 'smart factory solutions' with Azure

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft and BMW are teaming up to build an open platform for the industrial and automotive industries. Suitably titled the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP), the project will focus on creating an "open technology framework and cross-industry community," the companies said in a press release this week.

The OMP will be built on Microsoft's Azure industrial IoT cloud platform and will give other companies a base to build off of with for their own manufacturing scenarios. The result, the companies hope, will be an open platform that provides standard data models that "enable analytic and machine learning scenarios."

"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, in the press release. "Our commitment to building an open community will create new opportunities for collaboration across the entire manufacturing value chain."

Both companies envision an ecosystem in which companies can tap into sample code and the expertise of other partners in the program to develop software to handle their own, unique, use cases with machine connectivity and systems integration. One promising area both companies point to is the a robotics standard for autonomous transport systems, which will be available for everyone to use through the OMP for production and logistics issues.

The OMP community is expected to launch with between four and six partners and a minimum of 15 use cases rolled out by the end of 2019. Both BMW and Microsoft are encouraging other manufacturers and suppliers to joing the OMP community.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl