IoT or the Internet of Things is a network of internet-connected things (devices, vehicles etc. called ‘connected devices’ or ‘smart devices’) which can collect and exchange data using embedded sensors. The information is transmitted from one IoT device to another using internet transfer protocols. The IoT platforms serve as a bridge between sensors of the devices and the data networks.
With digital transformation, there has been a rapid rise in the number of IoT devices these days. Below are a few real world examples of IoT:
- Smart home devices like those used for controlling heating (smart thermostats), air conditioning etc.
- Increased usage in various industry verticals like in logistics, sensors are there on ships for monitoring vessel location and speed in real-time.
- In automotive industry, trucks and cars use IoT for proximity control, emergency braking, 3D maps.
- In airlines, for getting flight operations’ information, fuel usage and maintenance scheduling.
- In fitness industry, for keeping a track of the fitness information with wearable activity trackers.
- In healthcare industry, IoT devices help patients remind them of their appointments, count calories, monitor blood pressure variations etc.
- In communication industry, smart phones, apps are on the rise. Telecom sector is using IoT for predictive maintenance, smart metering, asset tracking and more.
- In power industry, for reducing the impact on environment with smart meter control.
- In agricultural, construction industry for monitoring moisture level in soil and making timely irrigation decisions.
- In recycling industry with smart weighing arms on collection trucks and a lot more.
As per a report from IHS, the IoT market will grow from 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in the year 2020 and 75.4 billion by 2025.
There are several ways to build an IoT solution according to your needs. Microsoft’s Azure IoT solution accelerators is one of them. Formerly called Azure IoT Suite, the IoT solution accelerators is an open-source solution that can be customized to fit common IoT scenarios.
Available as software as a service (SaaS), it provides an application development platform and framework along with a set of preconfigured customizable IoT solutions.
Unveiled in September 2015, Azure (IoT) services offer a broad range of capabilities. These enterprise grade services enable you to collect data from devices, analyze data streams in-motion, store and query large data sets, visualize both real-time and historical data, integrate with back-office systems, and manage your devices.
How to build an IoT project with Azure IoT solution accelerators?
1. Connect the device to Azure IoT
You can connect all your devices to Azure IoT using Microsoft Azure’s open source software development kits. These kits support multiple operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and real-time operating systems, as well as programming languages, such as, Java, .NET, C etc.
Start your IoT project by leveraging the Azure IoT Starter kit or choose from hundreds of those certified for IoT devices.
2. Build a hybrid cloud and edge IoT Solution with Azure IoT Edge
The Azure IoT Edge enables easy interaction between code and services, so they flow securely between cloud and edge distributing the intelligence across IoT devices.
A hybrid cloud and edge IoT solution is built using the IoT Edge platform. The Azure IoT edge simplifies the IoT development efforts using its existing skill and resources. It also enables artificial intelligence, reduces the overall IoT solution costs, and let the users operate the edge devices offline.
3. Monitor and manage all IoT devices
Azure IoT solution accelerators includes preconfigured solutions for getting you quickly started with and for exploring common IoT cases, like predictive maintenance, connected factory and remote monitoring. These solutions can be easily deployed to your Azure subscription for running a complete IoT scenario. The preconfigured solutions leverage these services:
4. Connect your IoT devices with Azure using IoT Hub
Azure IoT Hub enables secure and reliable bi-directional communications between multiple devices and a solution back end. To connect the IoT devices with Microsoft Azure, the IoT Hub is used. The IoT Hub works on a per-device basis so that the IoT solution retains confidentiality of both cloud-to-device and device-to-cloud messages. It provides secure connection using per-device security credentials and access control.
IoT hub has the ability to speed up the IoT deployment by registering and provisioning devices with zero-touch in a secure and scalable way. All the devices compatible with IoT hub have the support of IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service.
5. Azure Stream Analytics
It provides data analysis in motion. This service is used for detecting events, processing incoming telemetry and performing aggregation. It is also used for processing informational messages containing command responses and metadata. The solutions leverage it for processing messages from devices and for delivering them to other services.
6. Azure CosmosDB and Azure Storage
These provide data storage abilities. Blob storage is used by preconfigured solutions for storing telemetry and making it available for analysis. Cosmos DB is used for storing device metadata and for enabling device management abilities in solutions.
7. Azure Web Apps and Microsoft Power BI
These provide data visualization abilities. You can build interactive dashboards with Power BI.
If you are looking to jumpstart your first IoT project with Microsoft, all you need is an Azure subscription. There is no need of any new hardware of software because it is a SaaS solution.
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