Microsoft Is Connecting Its Major Products to Blockchain Technology
Three years ago, Microsoft Azure was the first to bring blockchain to the cloud. Now it's connecting the technology to just about everything else.
Microsoft has been quietly linking blockchain technology with widely used infrastructure and platforms, such as Office 365, Salesforce and even Twitter! The idea is to allow Microsoft customers to port their data from these platforms into the cloud, and from there onto a blockchain.
In addition to the usually touted blockchain efficiencies, one of the less-discussed benefits of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in a cloud environment like Azure, according to Microsoft, is that it amasses data from multiple companies in a standardized format at scale. The potential to mine data for all sorts of insights then becomes limitless, the company reckons.
Hence, the company is integrating tools such as Microsoft Flow and Logic Apps – which offer hundreds of connectors to thousands of applications – into Azure Blockchain Workbench, a service it launched in May to make the creation of blockchain apps easier (Workbench currently has ethereum Proof of Authority configured as the consensus protocol).
"Blockchain empowers the next step – enabling a single, authentic data set shared across counterparties. This is already improving the way transactions happen," - Matt Kerner, GM of Microsoft Azure
"What blockchain is doing is creating a multi-party business process that is moving out of email, phone calls, spreadsheets and into a single system with a single view on the data that all of the participants can rely upon and trust," he said.
Stepping back, many would argue that data is now the most valuable naturally occurring resource on the planet. As the race to prove the best data analytics intensifies, firms are springing up whose sole purpose is to structure and format data to run AI algorithms on.
But with enterprise blockchain, you get the structured and formatted data part thrown in for free, as Kerner said many Azure customers were discovering.