Category Archives : Internet of Things

23

Jan

Introducing IoT Hub device streams in public preview

In today’s security-first digital age, ensuring secure connectivity to IoT devices is of paramount importance. A wide range of operational and maintenance scenarios in the IoT space rely on end-to-end device connectivity in order to enable users and services to interact with, login, troubleshoot, send, or receive data from devices. Security and compliance with the organization’s policies are therefore an essential ingredient across all these scenarios.

Azure IoT Hub device streams is a new PaaS service that addresses these needs by providing a foundation for secure end-to-end connectivity to IoT devices. Customers, partners, application developers, and third-party platform providers can leverage device streams to communicate securely with IoT devices that reside behind firewalls or are deployed inside of private networks. Furthermore, built-in compatibility with the TCP/IP stack makes device streams applicable to a wide range of applications involving both custom proprietary protocols as well standards-based protocols such as remote shell, web, file transfer and video streaming, among others.

At its core, an IoT Hub device stream is a data transfer tunnel that provides connectivity between two TCP/IP-enabled endpoints: one side of the tunnel is an IoT device and the other side is a customer endpoint that intends to communicate with

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22

Jan

Connecting Node-RED to Azure IoT Central
Connecting Node-RED to Azure IoT Central

Today I want to show how simple it is to connect a temperature/humidity sensor to Azure IoT Central using a Raspberry Pi and Node-RED.

As many of you know, Raspberry Pi is a small, single-board computer. Its low cost, low power nature makes it a natural fit for IoT projects. Node-RED is a flow-based, drag and drop programming tool designed for IoT. It enables the creation of robust automation flows in a web browser, simplifying IoT project development.

For my example, I’m using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and a simple DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor, but it should work with other models of the Pi. If you have a different kind of sensor, you should be able to adapt the guide below to use it, provided you can connect Node-RED to your sensor.

Configuring Azure IoT Central Create an app. Create a new device template. Temp (temp) Humidity (humidity) Create a real device and get the DPS connection information. Use dps-keygen to provision the device and get a device connection string. Identify the three parts of the resulting connection string and save them for later. Connecting the DHT22 sensor

Before we can get data from our

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21

Jan

Export data in near real-time from Azure IoT Central
Export data in near real-time from Azure IoT Central

We are happy to share that you can now export data to Azure Event Hubs and Azure Service Bus in near real-time from your Azure IoT Central app! Previously, Continuous Data Export enabled exporting your IoT Central measurements, devices, and device templates data to your Azure Blob Storage account once every minute for cold path storage and analytics. Now you can export this data in near real-time to your Azure Event Hubs and Azure Service Bus instances for analytics and monitoring.

For example, an energy company wants to understand and predict trends in energy consumption in different areas over time of day and throughout the week. With electrical equipment connected to IoT Central, they can use Continuous Data Export to export their IoT data to Azure Event Hubs. They run their deployed machine learning models to gain insight over consumption and perform anomaly detection by connecting their Event Hubs to Azure Databricks. They can run highly custom rules for detecting specific outages by sending data from Event Hubs to Azure Stream Analytics. For long term data storage, they can continue to use Continuous Data Export to store all of their device data in Azure Blob Storage.

Continuous Data Export

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14

Jan

Azure IoT automatic device management helps deploying firmware updates at scale

Automatic device management in Azure IoT Hub automates many of the repetitive and complex tasks of managing large device fleets over the entirety of their lifecycles. Since the feature shipped in June 2018, there has been a lot of interest in the firmware update use case. This blog article highlights some of the ways you can kickstart your own implementation.

Update the Azure IoT DevKit firmware over-the-air using automatic device management

The Azure IoT DevKit over-the-air (OTA) firmware update project is a great implementation of automatic device management. With automatic device management, you can target a set of devices based on their properties, define a desired configuration, and let IoT Hub update devices whenever they come into scope. This is performed using an automatic device configuration, which will also allow you to summarize completion and compliance, handle merging and conflicts, and roll out configurations in a phased approach. The Azure IoT DevKit implementation defines an automatic device configuration that specifies a collection of device twin desired properties related to the firmware version and image. It also specifies a set of useful metrics that are important for monitoring a deployment across a device fleet. The target condition can be specified based

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10

Jan

New year, newly available IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service features

We’re ringing in 2019 by announcing the general availability for the Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service features we first released back in September 2018! The following features are all generally available to you today:

Symmetric key attestation support Re-provisioning support Enrollment-level allocation rules Custom allocation logic

All features are available in all provisioning service regions, through the Azure portal, and the SDKs will support these new features by the end of January 2019 (with the exception of the Python SDK). Let’s talk a little more about each feature.

Symmetric key attestation

Symmetric keys are one of the easiest ways to start off using the provisioning service and provide an easy “Hello world” experience for those of you who want to get started with provisioning but haven’t yet decided on an authentication method. Furthermore, symmetric key enrollment groups provide a great way for legacy devices with limited existing security functionality to bootstrap to the cloud via Azure IoT. Check the docs to learn more about how to connect legacy devices.

Symmetric key support is available in two ways:

Individual enrollments, in which devices connect to the Device Provisioning Service just like they do in IoT Hub. Enrollment groups, in which

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09

Jan

New smart device security research: Consumers call on manufacturers to do more

It’s become a reliable January tradition for manufacturers to introduce an amazing array of consumer devices at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). These new devices enter a booming market, and Gartner predicts “14.2 billion connected things will be in use in 2019, and that the total will reach 25 billion by 2021.” This year connected devices will dominate CES again as device manufacturers lean further into their vision for the smart home. These devices’ promise is resonant – smart home experiences will remove friction from our day-to-day lives, save us money, keep us healthy, and help us lower our environmental footprints—ultimately, empowering us all to achieve more.

As people open their personal lives and spaces to these smart experiences, they’re also becoming increasingly attuned to the security risks that smart technology can introduce. Their concern builds as news headlines give shape to the many ways that smart devices are being weaponized by attackers to invade personal privacy, steal sensitive data, and take down infrastructure with scaled attacks.

We set out to better understand how the allure of smart device experiences stacks up against the concern for security, and who consumers hold responsible to secure smart devices. To this end, we

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09

Jan

CES 2019: Microsoft partners, customers showcase breakthrough innovation with Azure IoT, AI, and Mixed Reality

Each year at CES, we see dozens of new product innovations that bring additional convenience, entertainment, efficiency – or completely new experiences to our daily lives. By bringing the power of the cloud to connected devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) have played an ever-expanding role in driving the connected product business opportunity. Today, smart thermostats, speakers, TVs, appliances, cars, and more are no longer serving an “early adopter” market – they are entering the mainstream – as people look for technology to help enrich how they plan and experience their daily lives.

Our Azure IoT and AI strategy enables customers to build these new products and solutions using the power of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, at scale. The Azure IoT platform helps customers build consistent AI-based applications and experiences from the cloud to the edge, that are adaptive and responsive to physical environments – from smart cities and spaces to connected products in homes and on the manufacturing floor. Our Azure AI services combine the latest advances in technologies like machine learning and deep learning, with our comprehensive data, Azure cloud and productivity platform, and a trusted, enterprise grade approach.

We are continuing

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20

Dec

The biggest IoT stories of 2018
The biggest IoT stories of 2018

This blog post was authored by Peter Cooper, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft IoT.

Back in April, we announced our intention to invest $5 billion in the Internet of Things (IoT) over the next five years. The importance of this commitment has become even clearer since, as technology has already evolved, customers have innovated, and possibilities have grown. As 2018 draws to a close, here’s a look back at the topics that drove the most interest and excitement here on our blog—and a window into what’s coming for this technology in the near future.

Smart spaces

The spaces around us are coming alive with the power of data. In our post, “Smart buildings, built on Azure IoT,” we talked about how IoT and AI are helping those who own, manage, and use buildings increase efficiency to reduce cost and improve productivity. With announcements of products such as Azure Sphere and Azure Digital Twins, we empowered our partners and customers to explore new possibilities for managing and improving the built environment responsively, in real time.

Over the past year, we’ve also seen customers expand their vision of what smart spaces can do. Traditionally, these projects were heavily focused on operational aspects of

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20

Dec

IoT in Action: New insights for retail
IoT in Action: New insights for retail

The pace of development for retail Internet of Things (IoT) solutions continues to build. From enhanced customer insights to better staff utilization and increased supply chain efficiency, sophisticated IoT solutions are helping retailers improve, and even reimagine, the retail experience.

For in-depth insights around the latest developments in IoT for retail, including how customer expectations are changing and how IoT investments can impact store profitability, register for our live IoT in Action event in New York (co-located with NRF 2019) on January 14, 2019 or sign up for our industry-specific retail webinar on January 8, 2019.

Focusing on store performance

In-store retail continues to account for approximately 90 percent of retail sales, but the retail landscape is changing. According to IHL, nearly 10,000 stores closed in the United States in 2017 – but another 14,000 opened. In the new retail environment, successful stores are focused on improving the customer experience and in-store operations with the goal of offering truly frictionless shopping. IoT technologies are helping to transform both efforts, allowing rapid testing and deployment in a common platform that spans both digital and physical environments.

Four ways IoT can help increase conversions

It’s one thing to get a customer

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20

Dec

Anatomy of a secured MCU
Anatomy of a secured MCU

Secure silicon

Azure Sphere is an end-to-end solution containing three complementary components that provide a secured IoT platform. They include an Azure Sphere microcontroller unit (MCU), an operating system optimized for IoT scenarios that is managed by Microsoft, and a suite of secured, scalable online services. Microsoft provides over a decade of support for the operating system as well as use of the security service for a single per device fee to simplify business planning.

Microsoft built its name in software, but our expertise in silicon runs deep. Over the last 15 years, Microsoft has deeply invested in hardware-based security by designing custom silicon for various Microsoft products. Azure Sphere’s silicon architecture is a culmination of all those years of experience, and our Pluton Security Subsystem is the heart of our security story. In this blog post, I’ll drill down a layer to discuss what puts the “secured” in a secured Azure Sphere MCU. Specifically, I’ll dive into Pluton’s design details, as well as some other general silicon security improvements.

Broadly, any MCU-based device belongs in one of two categories – devices that may connect to the Internet and devices designed to never connect to the Internet. Until recently, virtually

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