Category Archives : Internet of Things

02

Apr

Unique identities are hard: How I learned to stop worrying and love the ID scope

Behold the ID scope, one of the most nuanced concepts in the IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service. It is both reviled and lauded for its name-spacing characteristics in device provisioning. It throws a wrench in complex provisioning scenarios, but it’s also necessary for secure zero-touch device provisioning. This blog post is a culmination of several hours worth of conversations and design discussions in the engineering team, and it may take you several reads to fully understand. Understanding ID scopes is a journey, not a destination. If you don’t care about the details, just know that ID scopes are necessary to ensure identity uniqueness in the device supply chain. If you want to know why, read on.

On device uniqueness

Device uniqueness is made up of two pieces, a unique registration ID (not assumed private) and a key (assumed private). For shorthand, each device is represented within a single DPS as (X, Y) where X = registration ID and Y = key. This has been used for what feels like eons in computing, and the concept of a GUID is nothing new. It turns out that there are a couple of unique things about IoT scenarios that make this insufficient for

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29

Mar

How to get support for Azure IoT SDK
How to get support for Azure IoT SDK

Azure IoT SDKs make it easy for developers to begin coding and deploy applications for Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service. The SDKs are production quality open-sourced project with support from Microsoft. If you need support for any step of your development phase, have issues during evaluation or production deployments, we are here to help! There are multiple channels where issues and requests are surfaced. We recommend the following channels for faster turnaround:

Have a feature request for SDKs? We have a User Voice for feature requests. Create new requests, upvote existing ones and help us prioritize! Have a technical question? Ask on Stack Overflow with tag “azure-iot-hub”. We monitor Stack Overflow for questions. Stack Overflow’s high standard for answers will ensure you will get a complete, detailed answer to help others in the community. Need support? If you have an Azure subscription, you can file support requests and get assistance to help you debug. Support requests also make it possible for you to communicate confidential information that would be insecure in a public GitHub issue, such as your hub name or subscription ID. When you file a support request, please make sure you specify

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22

Mar

Azure Event Hubs integration with Apache Spark now generally available

The Event Hubs team is happy to announce the general availability of our integration with Apache Spark. Now, Event Hubs users can use Spark to easily build end-to-end streaming applications. The Event Hubs connector for Spark supports Spark Core, Spark Streaming, and Structured Streaming for Spark 2.1, Spark 2.2, and Spark 2.3.

For users new to Spark, Spark Streaming and Structured Streaming are scalable, fault-tolerant stream processing engines. These processing engines allow users to process huge amounts of data using complex algorithms expressed with high-level functions like map, reduce, join, and window. This data can then be pushed to file systems, databases, or even back to Event Hubs.

Setting up a stream is easy, check it out:

import org.apache.spark.eventhubs._ import org.apache.spark.sql.SparkSession val eventHubsConf = EventHubsConf(“{EVENT HUB CONNECTION STRING FROM AZURE PORTAL}”) .setStartingPosition(EventPosition.fromEndOfStream) // Create a stream that reads data from the specified Event Hub. val spark = SparkSession.builder.appName(“SimpleStream”).getOrCreate() val eventHubStream = spark.readStream .format(“eventhubs”) .options(eventHubsConf.toMap) .load()

It’s as easy as that! Once your events are streaming into Spark, you can process them as you wish. Spark provides a variety of processing options, such as graph analysis and machine learning. Our documentation has more details on linking our connector with your

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08

Mar

A digital transformation Journey featuring Contoso Manufacturing and Azure IoT

This is a story about the digital transformation of Contoso HVAC Manufacturing, a virtual company that is growing its business from a traditional HVAC Chillers manufacturer, to delivering value to customers as a service. Contoso HVAC understands that the Internet of Things is a key ingredient to this transformation, but rapidly realizes that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all IoT solution. Each industry, each company have their own constraints and requirements. Each are trying to navigate and understanding the vast list of IoT services and solutions which have often proved tricky to grasp.

Instead of listing a portfolio of products and services, let me tell you the story of how Contoso HVAC’s journey to introduce Azure IoT with a different perspective transformed its business.

Contoso HVAC manufactures HVAC Chillers, the big industrial ones used in large buildings and enterprises. The company has been manufacturing HVAC Chillers for 50 years. In recent times, to stay competitive the company is going through a digital transformation, expanding their support agreements to become remote operations and maintenance agreements. Customers of Contoso HVAC will no longer just buy an HVAC system, but instead will buy a fully managed “HVAC-as-a-Service” solution.

To achieve

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27

Feb

Transform your industry with new Microsoft IoT in Action Webinar Series

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way industries around the world do business. And with recent advances in sensor platforms and intelligent analytic capabilities available from the cloud, the use of IoT has become even more mainstream. As we will highlight in Microsoft’s IoT in Action webinar series, there are many new and exciting ways that IoT solutions are being used across industries.

Using IoT solutions to deliver impactful experiences

In industries where there is so much data available, but not always the means to process and interpret it all, IoT solutions can have a huge impact. To start, IoT plays a crucial role in delivering a positive customer experience.

Consider the healthcare industry. While being able to better track and predict illnesses can benefit hospitals and clinics, it also results in a more seamless journey for the individual. For example, individuals can use wearable technology to monitor their health and well-being beyond their heart rate and physicians can use this data to monitor patients remotely. This means each patient receives a more personalized, rewarding experience.

Retail IoT solutions also revolve around using data to customize each experience to the individual shopper. While the insights gleaned from

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12

Feb

Azure IoT SDKs released new Long-Term Support branch
Azure IoT SDKs released new Long-Term Support branch

The Azure IoT SDKs now have a new Long-Term Support (LTS) Branch. While we develop our SDKs on public GitHub repositories and ship a new version every other week to give developers access to the latest and greatest features, we now also offer a branch that will only get critical bugs and security patches, starting in July 2017. Developers can now leverage the latest LTS version, release in January 2018, to develop clients that work with Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service.

The LTS branch offers customers a guarantee that they will benefit from any necessary security or critical bug fixes with minimal impact to their device’s code. At the same time, developers can access latest updates in the master branch of the repositories, staying on top of the technology and features, with a faster response and resolution time to posted issues. Best of both worlds!

The latest LTS version is accessible from GitHub under lts_2018_01 branch and from package managers such as NuGet, PiPy, apt-get, Maven, and NPM. All our SDKs follow semantic versioning. A major version change corresponds to a breaking change; a minor version change corresponds to adding functionality, and a patch version change corresponds to

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05

Feb

Go serverless for your IoT needs
Go serverless for your IoT needs

If you are building an IoT solution in the cloud, chances are your focus is on the devices and what you can accomplish with them. You might want to process data coming from a network of devices in real time, analyze the data to gain insights, get alerted for special conditions, manage the devices themselves, and so on. What is less interesting to you is setting up and managing the infrastructure in the cloud, which will enable you to do the above. This is where serverless comes in.

Serverless technologies, like Azure Functions, take away the burden of managing infrastructure and enables you to focus on your IoT-powered business logic. IoT projects usually have variable traffic, which means accumulating infrastructure to account for peak loads, isn’t the best strategy. Adopting serverless allows your solutions to scale dynamically while keeping costs low.

This video shows a great application of a serverless architecture to receive data from a device, transform it in real time using machine learning, and send it back to the device. It is based on the DevKit Translator IoT project.

Here we describe a few scenarios in which the combination of Azure IoT Hub, Azure Event Grid, and

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18

Jan

Announcing IoT extension for Azure CLI 2.0
Announcing IoT extension for Azure CLI 2.0

We recently released a new open source IoT extension that adds to the capabilities of Azure CLI 2.0. Azure CLI 2.0 includes commands for interacting with Azure Resource Manager and management endpoints. For example, you can use Azure CLI 2.0 to create an Azure VM or an IoT Hub. A CLI extension enables an Azure service to augment the Azure CLI, giving you access to additional service-specific capabilities. The IoT extension gives developers command line access to IoT Hub, IoT Edge, and IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service capabilities.

Azure CLI 2.0 enables you to manage Azure IoT Hub resources, device provisioning service instances, and linked-hubs out of the box. The new IoT extension enriches Azure CLI 2.0 with features such as device management and full IoT Edge capability.

The launch of this IoT extension means that we will be retiring version CLI 1.0 and the iot-hub-explorer tool. Azure CLI 1.0 and CLI 2.0 are at full functional parity.The Iot-hub-explorer and CLI 2.0 are at functional parity with the exception of CLI 2.0 currently missing event monitoring commands. We aim to provide event monitoring commands in early March 2018. We will deprecate the IoT extension for Azure CLI 1.0 and

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16

Jan

Accelerate your business revolution with IoT in Action

There’s a revolution underway that is positioning companies to take operational efficiency to new levels and inform the next generation of products and services. This revolution of course, is the Internet of Things (IoT).

Here at Microsoft, we’re committed to helping our customers harness the power of IoT through our Azure IoT solutions. We’re also committed to helping customers take the first steps through our IoT in Action series. Our next delivery is coming February 13, 2018 in San Francisco, which I’d encourage you to attend.

But first, I’d like to introduce you to some recent updates to Azure IoT Suite that are making IoT solutions easier and more robust than ever.

Azure IoT powers the business revolution

With our long history of driving business success and digital transformation for our customers, it’s no surprise that we’re also focused on powering the business revolution through our robust Azure IoT suite of products.

So how does Azure IoT benefit businesses?

First off, it’s a quick and scalable solution. Our preconfigured solutions can accelerate your development process, so you can get up and running quickly. You can connect existing devices and add new ones using our device SDKs for platforms including

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10

Jan

Manage and Auto-scale your IoT solution with a predictable IoT Cloud

As companies continue to fully roll out their IoT projects, management of the various components of the solution becomes a critical part of their operations. The flexibility of Azure IoT Hub to enable customers to start small, paying only for the amount of IoT Hub capacity needed at any point along the device deployment curve, helps drive predictability in the cost of an IoT solution.

However, the potentially irregular rate of device and message growth in an IoT solution does add a unique challenge for operations. When the number of messages ingested from devices in a given day exceeds the limit of the chosen IoT Hub capacity, the IoT Hub will begin to reject messages until either the IoT Hub is scaled-up, or the time rolls over into the next day (UTC time). Wouldn’t it be nice to have IoT Hub just automatically scale up to a higher capacity when a certain threshold of messages is met, before this limit is reached?

While at this point, IoT Hub does not have this capability built into the service, we have published a sample solution for monitoring and automatically scaling your IoT Hub based on reaching a specific threshold of messages. The sample,

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