Research for Industry header: agri-food, energy, gaming image collage

Research for Industry

Unlocking new opportunities

The future of industry is data-driven and the related technological breakthroughs are key to addressing industry’s ability to leverage opportunities and overcome challenges. Data enables AI-powered insight and will help commercial companies become more efficient, build sustainable operations, and drive growth.

The Research for Industry (RFI) initiative seeks to identify and accelerate scientific advances in technologies such as data platforms, connectivity, robotics, and AI and bring them to bear on opportunities in a variety of industries, including retail, financial services, energy, and agri-food, and others.

As part of Research for Industry, we work closely with partners, customers, and field experts to enable the data-driven future of different businesses. In collaboration with scientists in Microsoft Research, our engineers in Azure invent new technologies to bring the best in cloud and AI to bear on the emerging challenges and opportunities in industry.

Why research?

Customers regularly partner with Microsoft to leverage emerging and mature products and services to enable the digital transformation needed to maintain their competitiveness. However, with the increased pace of technical innovation that we have seen over the past decade, industry needs to be increasingly active in the process of making these scientific advances to inform and influence them and to be ready to act if early adoption is beneficial.

Research adds differentiated technology and capabilities to Microsoft industry product stacks and provides a foundation of emerging services to be leveraged by customers who need to continually overcome barriers to growth and unlock new opportunities.

Learn about the Research for Industry track at Research Summit Oct 19-21 >

Cross-industry enablers

Lucas Joppa sustainability: photo of solar panels at sunrise


Project Mishtu - group of people talking

Last mile

AirSim and Unity, a virtual car driving down the road

Simulations & modeling

Eclipse Power BI

Data platforms

Sustainability: There is a demand from many customers, across all industries, for solutions to be more sustainable that aligns with an emphasis that Microsoft Research has on advances that will enable sustainability. We see needs and opportunity related to sustainability in a number of industries, including energy, agri-food, and logistics and on projects including carbon capture, water management, and pollution mitigation.

Last mile: It is difficult and expensive to gather, analyze, and distribute data in the last mile. This is true for a retail store, a farm, an oil rig, an e-mobility site, or for logistics delivery and pick up. Advances in connectivity, particularly over the last mile, will enable advances in multiple industries.

Simulations & modeling: Companies are becoming increasingly dependent on modeling to explore and inform business scenarios. The factors and data influencing decisions are growing more complex and implications of the decisions more significant. The agri-food industry depends on crop growth models, retail companies on supply-chain models, pharmaceutical companies on chemical simulation models. Our researchers are exploring ways in which simulation technologies can improve the data necessary to build and train these complex models.

Data platforms: Across industries, commercial companies are seeking increasingly advanced data platform features to effectively manage the volume, complexity, and breadth of data they are collecting and attempting to use. They need capabilities such as ingesting unstructured and semi-structured data, data governance systems, data sharing systems, and multi-party compute. Through our efforts in Research for Industry, we will connect fundamental research advances in data systems to the Azure data services and platforms for broad access and availability.