Microsoft announced on Thursday a new “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) offering, called IoT Central, aimed at reducing the complexity of building Internet of Things solutions.

IoT Central allows developers to create software and hardware without cloud expertise, a necessity for large-scale IoT solutions in the past. Microsoft does not say exactly how the service reduces the need for cloud experience but said it will continue to update over the coming months.

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The new service is powered by Azure IoT Suite, Microsoft’s current central platform for IoT development. We assume for developers not accustomed to cloud computing, it will automate parts of the process.

“[IoT Central] has the potential to dramatically increase the speed at which manufacturers can innovate and bring new products to market, as well as lower the barriers to creating IoT solutions that generate new revenue opportunities and better experiences for customers,” said Microsoft.

Also updating Azure

Microsoft will also be updating Azure IoT Suite with a new “pre-configured solution”, called Connected Factory. The solution “makes it easy to connect on-premises open platform communications (OPC) UA and OPC Classic devices to the Microsoft cloud and get insights to help drive operational efficiencies.”

Connected Factory has built-in cloud security to make configuring devices in the cloud a safe experience. Microsoft has partnered with Unified Automation, Softing, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise to build “turnkey gateway solutions” for the Connected Factory, using Azure cloud services.

Microsoft has made big investments in IoT and cloud over the past year and they appear to be paying off. Even though Amazon still controls most of the market-share for cloud computing, Azure is catching up.