Category Archives : Internet of Things

24

Oct

IoT device authentication options
IoT device authentication options

Picking the right security for the job is a challenging issue. Obviously, everyone wants maximum security for IoT solutions. But issues such as hardware limitations, cost consciousness, lack of security expertise, and more all play into which security option is ultimately chosen for how your IoT devices connect to the cloud. There are many dimensions of IoT security and in my experience authentication type tends to be the first one customers encounter, though all are important.

In this blog post, I’m going to discuss the authentication types supported by the Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service and Azure IoT Hub. There are other authentication methods out there, but these are the ones we have found to be the most widely used.

Azure IoT published a whitepaper about evaluating your IoT security, and we also offer the Security Program for Azure IoT. This security program helps you find the right security auditor for your situation and who can help you figure out how much security you need for your solution. These companies are experts at evaluating IoT security; if you have any in-depth questions around security, I highly recommend you give them a try. You can also learn about how to

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23

Oct

What they know now: Insights from top IoT leaders
What they know now: Insights from top IoT leaders

This post was co-authored by Peter Cooper, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Azure IoT and Mark Pendergrast, Director of Product Marketing, Azure.

The Internet of Things (IoT) market is red hot. Industrial spending will surge to $123 billion in 2021, with the manufacturing, transportation, and logistics, and utility sectors each expected to spend $40 billion on the technology within the next three years.

Nobody wants to be left behind. In the following video, you’ll hear from industry leaders Henrik Fløe of Grundfos, Doug Weber from Rockwell Automation, Michael MacKenzie from Schneider Electric, and Alasdair Monk of The Weir Group on why they’re bullish on all things IoT, and how they’re leveraging it to innovate and grow.

Here’s a sampling of their insights:

IoT “is a huge disruptor to our industry, to be able to connect more directly with our end-user customers, to be able to track our devices, to be able to track how the devices and the gear is performing, but then also to derive new business models, new value streams that help our customers do more with what they have.”

“It’s really important I think that we build our capabilities in a way that makes it flexible,

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22

Oct

Building an IoT ecosystem that fuels business transformation

This post was authored by Rodney Clark, VP, IOT Sales, CDS.

A couple years back, I remember seeing a published IoT time-to-value diagram. It laid out the multiple steps that it takes to complete an IoT solution and deploy to customers, including the various partner types and skillsets needed in each phase.

At that moment it became evident to me that there was an opportunity that had not yet been captured — and that was how to connect these partners and bridge their capabilities to expedite time to value for partners and customers alike. IoT is involved from both a product perspective and a partner perspective. There are a lot of moving pieces, and it can be daunting to determine the best IoT solution, identify the right partners, and achieve a clear ROI expectation at the start.

That’s where Microsoft, with its partner-plus-platform approach, fills a huge need and is driving change in the IoT industry. We’ve done a great job innovating the most consistent and comprehensive set of edge-to-cloud services available. And, in addition to driving R&D and continued product innovation, we’re leveraging part of our $5 billion IoT investment to fuel the IoT partner ecosystem to accelerate business

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16

Oct

Azure IoT Reference Architecture 2.1 release
Azure IoT Reference Architecture 2.1 release

A few months ago, we released a significant update to the Azure IoT Reference Architecture, a downloadable resource that aims to accelerate customers building IoT solutions on Azure by providing a proven production ready architecture and technology implementation choices.

Today, we are happy to release updated version 2.1 of the Azure IoT Reference Architecture. The document offers an overview of the IoT space, recommended subsystem factoring for scalable IoT solutions, prescriptive technology recommendations per subsystem, and detailed sections that explore use cases and technology alternatives.

This latest version of the guide includes four essential updates:

Guidance to build IoT solutions by leveraging SaaS (Azure IoT Central), PaaS (Azure IoT solution accelerators), or IaaS (using OSS stack). Azure IoT Central is a fully managed global IoT SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution that makes it easy to connect, monitor, and manage your IoT assets at scale. Azure IoT solution accelerators are open source offerings that provide end to end examples showcasing the use of Azure technologies to achieve faster time to market and time to value. Incorporating Azure IoT Edge as the intelligent edge for expanding the set of connected devices that gather telemetry, generate insights, and take action based on information close to

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15

Oct

Announcing the public preview of Azure Digital Twins

Last month at our Ignite conference in Orlando, we proudly announced the public preview of Azure Digital Twins, a new platform for comprehensive digital models and spatially aware solutions that can be applied to any physical environment. Today, we take the next step in the journey of simplifying IoT for our customers and are happy to announce that Azure Digital Twins is now officially live.

Starting today, customers and partners can create an Azure account and begin using Azure Digital Twins. We encourage you to explore the content available in the Azure Digital Twins documentation and on the product page. You can also try out the quickstart to begin building your solution with Azure Digital Twins today.

As mentioned in the announcement blog post from last month, Azure Digital Twins allows customers to benefit from first modeling the physical environment before connecting devices to that model. By transitioning the IoT approach to one that goes beyond mapping sensors and devices, customers can benefit from new spatial intelligence capabilities and insights into how spaces and infrastructure are really used. This allows organizations tp better serve people’s needs at every level, from energy efficiency to employee satisfaction and productivity. In addition, the

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15

Oct

IoT SWC 2018: IoT solutions for the built world
IoT SWC 2018: IoT solutions for the built world

It’s amazing to see how IoT is transforming our customers’ businesses—from optimizing operations and reducing unplanned downtime with companies like Chevron, to powering new connected vehicle experiences as we recently announced with Volkswagen.

Beyond business transformation, IoT has the potential to create more efficient and vibrant cities and communities by providing new insights and approaches to transportation and traffic, energy reduction, construction, utilities, parking, and so much more.

We are continuing to simplify the customer journey for secure, scalable IoT solutions for the cloud and the edge with a large set of announcements last month, including the general availability of Azure IoT Central at our Ignite 2018 conference, and more just last week about bringing intelligence to the edge in Windows IoT.

This week at IoT Solutions World Congress, we look forward to connecting with companies across industries and inspiring them with new possibilities for IoT, from creating Digital Twins of physical environments to taking advantage of Vision and AI on edge devices. We’ll also be talking about how we’re breaking down common barriers to entry in IoT by addressing security from the start with solutions like Azure Sphere and Azure Security Center for IoT, and empowering organizations to provision

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15

Oct

Ingesting a data stream from NIST manufacturing lab data – Part 2

The Industry Experiences team has recently published a solution guide for extracting insights from existing IoT data. The solution consists of the following components.

Ingesting data Hot path processing Cold path processing Analytics clients

This is the second part to a series of blogs that go through those components in detail. Ingestion of data is divided into two parts. This is part 2, where we cover the component that transforms the raw data then posts data records to Azure Event Hubs. For more information, see Creating a data stream from NIST manufacturing lab data – Part 1.

Communication between two microservices

The question is how to make the communication work between the Logic App component and the custom code that transforms the raw data and posts the resulting data records to Event Hubs. Each data record type such as events and samples are received by different Event Hubs.

Let’s start with the communication mechanism. We can talk about two general ways for communication between microservices, direct messaging or networking communication, and message passing.

The best practice is to decouple microservices using message passing. The microservice on the receiving end of the message waits for messages to arrive and process

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08

Oct

Unleash the value of Industrial IoT with Kepware and Azure IoT Edge

Kepware’s KEPServerEX is an industry leading solution for connectivity of industrial and manufacturing equipment, and a key component of many company’s Industrial IoT strategies. The Azure IoT platform is a great complement to this connectivity, allowing customers to take advantage of cloud scale, industrial-strength IoT, analytics, and AI technologies. Recognizing the value of this combination, Kepware had previously released a technical note showing how to connect to Azure IoT Hub from KEPServerEX and send the data that it gathered from its connected machinery directly to the cloud via the popular MQTT protocol.

With the release of Azure IoT Edge, customers have the option of bringing some of the custom processing and Azure services from the cloud down to the Edge. This enables scenarios like filtering and aggregating data on the Edge before sending to Azure or executing machine learning models to predict failures or performing anomaly detection with very low latency and bandwidth usage.

Kepware through Azure IoT Edge

The natural question at this point is can you do both? Can you leverage the large selection of device connectivity libraries of KEPServerEx, and the power of edge processing from Azure IoT Edge together? The answer, of course, is yes! We

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08

Oct

Creating a data stream from NIST manufacturing lab data – Part 1

The Industry Experiences team has recently published a solution guide for extracting insights from existing IoT data. The solution consists of the following high-level components.

Ingest data Hot path processing Cold path processing Analytics clients

This is the first of a series of blogs that go through those components in detail. We start with ingesting data into the solution and creating a data stream.

The NIST data

The solution uses the data published by US National Institute of Standards and Technology Smart Manufacturing Systems test bed that exposes the manufacturing lab’s data. We use the data from the lab’s volatile data stream (VDS).

The VDS is implemented using the MTConnect standard. The standard offers a semantic vocabulary for manufacturing equipment. It defines a protocol to communicate with an MTConnect agent and the schema for the data returned.

The agent and its methods

The agent exposes an HTTP endpoint that supports the following API operations:

probe: Returns the list of devices, components, subcomponents and data items. current: Returns a snapshot of the data item’s most recent values or the state of the device at a point in time. sample: Returns Samples, Events and Condition in time series. asset: Most recent state

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02

Oct

IoT solutions for manufacturing: build or buy?
IoT solutions for manufacturing: build or buy?

If you are a manufacturer who wants to take its first steps towards IoT, and you’re overwhelmed by the plethora of vendors and IoT platforms in the IoT space, you are not alone. IoT is still a new space, with many moving parts and products. This makes it hard for organizations to know exactly where and how to get started. In this blog, I will try to provide you a simplified overview and next steps, based on the conversations I have been having with many manufacturing organizations.

Components of an IoT solution

When it comes to deciding whether to build or buy your IoT solution it is important, of course, to understand exactly what you are building or buying. To that end, it helps to identify the main components of an IoT solution stack (Figure 1). From bottom to top:

Figure 1: Building Blocks of an IoT Solution

1. Cloud platform: a set of general-purpose PaaS services used by developers to develop cloud-based solutions. These services include messaging, storage, compute, security, and more. Cloud platforms (such as Microsoft Azure) also include analytics services and IoT services.

2. IoT platform: A set of IoT-specific PaaS and SaaS services and development

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