Microsoft and Rolls Royce Collaborate to Build Next-gen Intelligent Engines

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Microsoft and Rolls Royce have announced a new collaboration to bring the next generation of intelligent engines to the aviation industry.

Rolls-Royce will integrate Microsoft Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite into its service solutions to expand its digital capabilities, particularly around its Totalcare service offering, which aims to improve the lifespan of its assets for customers.

The partnership builds on underlying trends within the industrial and manufacturing industry in moving from a reactive to proactive maintenance and repair model, using IoT to detect faults in real-time, but also identifying the tell-tale signs of such faults at industrial scale, prior to them becoming a problem.

“Our customers are looking for ways to leverage the digital landscape to increase efficiency and improve their operations,” said Tom Palmer, SVP of Services and Civil Aerospace at Rolls-Royce.

“By working with Microsoft we can really transform our digital services, supporting customer’s right across engine-related aircraft operations to make a real difference to performance.”

At the Hannover Messe event in Germany, both Microsoft and Rolls Royce will demonstrate the new capabilities, including using the Azure IoT Suite to collect and aggregate data from disparate, geographically distributed sources and Cortana Intelligence Suite to analyse the data itself.

Data sets will include engine health data, air traffic control information, route restrictions and fuel usage data, with the aim of increasing the assets fuel efficiency, as well as detecting anomalies and ongoing trends.

“Rolls-Royce has always been a pioneer in engine services, and this collaboration will create a new digital engine for Rolls-Royce to deliver an even better service to its customers across its world-class engine fleet through Microsoft Azure,” said Jason Zander, Corporate VP of Azure at Microsoft.

Microsoft also announced at the event it has been working with the OPC Foundation to ensure industry IoT scenarios is compliant within OPC Unified Architecture (UA) standard. The OPC UA provides a standardized communication, security, and metadata and semantics abstraction for the majority of industrial equipment, ensuring interoperability between devices, assets and the platform to interpret the collected data.

Microsoft’s support for the standard covers its entire IoT portfolio including local connectivity with Windows devices to cloud connectivity via the Microsoft Azure platform. The announcement also included extended support for OPC UA open source software stack, ensuring any Windows 10 devices running the Universal Windows Platform can connect and openly communicate with other IoT devices via OPC UA.

“As Industry 4.0 reaches a tipping point, we believe that openness and interoperability between hardware, software and services will help manufacturers transform how they operate and create solutions that benefit employees’ productivity,” said Sam George, Director of Azure Internet of Things at Microsoft.

“Microsoft’s support of OPC UA in Azure IoT and Windows IoT will reduce barriers to industrial IoT adoption and help deliver immediate value.