What is Microsoft Azure IoT Suite? (Dec 01, 2017)

What is Microsoft Azure IoT Suite?


Azure IoT is a part of the Azure set of services. In IoT often companies pulling together multiple services to create the IoT solutions.


The definition of IoT covers a broad set of capabilities and a broad set of technologies and it can be a challenge for companies to figure out which is the right set of services to bring together to create their needed solution. Azure IoT Suite is trying to make it simple to get started with IoT and meet with the service company’s need where they are at.


Azure IoT Suite is a collection of multiple azure services that works very well together to build an IoT solution. These services allow you to collect data from devices, analyze data streams in motion or in real time. It allows you to store or query large data sets, big data from IoT solution. It also allows you to visualize both real time and historical data in the cloud. You can also integrate your IoT solution with a back office system or on premise or legacy system or other things if you need to integrate that with.


The Azure IoT Suite is made up of these services:

First is Azure IoT Hub which provides a messaging system between Azure and devices that offers two ways messaging capabilities.

The Azure Notifications Hubs provide the ability to integrate mobile push notifications to users using mobile devices.

Azure Stream Analytics allows you to provide real time analysis capabilities on your data. Allowing that rich point to split off your data for fast slow processing with Stream Analytics very easily.

Machine learning can be also used to utilize artificial intelligence from the data collected in the IoT solution.

Power BI could easily integrate visualizations through system analysis prediction.


Even though that IoT suit has services that calls specifically for building IoT solution, basically any services in Azure can also be used within an IoT solution. You can use services for background processing e.g. Azure Functions or web jobs, You can use different storage services e.g. blob storage, tables, queues, document DB as well as Azure sql database.


Most Azure Services can be used with an IoT solution as they are needed to meet the business requirement


Here is a diagram that put some azure services that I just mentioned together in a sample solution:



On the left side it is the simulated device, in this case is a C# simulator running .NET but many devices won't be .NET running devices. So there are also Linux, iOS, Android, and other types of operating systems as well as support for other languages besides C# such as C and Java.


Then there is an instance of the IoT hub. This IoT hub manages the two way communication from the device to cloud service and the cloud service back to the device. It creates a secure direct channel between each device in the cloud.


Behind that IoT hub service, there is an instance of stream analytics and a job on that stream analytics instance that is taking those threshold values into the job to track and watch the data as it comes in detects the threshold event and creates an alarm event out of that. That alarm event then flows into an event of instance which is queried by a web job that web job is running an event processor host that is pulling out the events that are created and doing something with those, in this case sending the message up to the dashboard so that the human operator using the console could see the event and take the appropriate action. Those web jobs can be extended to run things like app logic application that do simple workflows or more complex workflows  and integration with other back-end systems. Document DB contains the device metadata and all the properties for each device are stored there and maintained there and that can be extended very easily with the key value model.


All of the telemetry data is stored in blobs. All data also stored on the backend to create scenarios to pull that data in through machine learning or other HD insight tools to do richer analysis and historical data over time.


There is a web application that is the dashboard. And finally active directory deployed where users can be added from your group.

Power BI is there so the visuals on the dashboard can be naturally extended into power BI and it creates additional dashboards and drill in views and really create a rich user interface on top of the dataset to explore depending again on the type of solution.


To conclude, the goal of the Azure IoT Suite and the preconfigured solutions is really to get companies started quickly in a matter of a few minutes. They are able to spin up a complete remote monitoring application, all services underneath working end to end running through the simulated telemetry showing how all those services come together and deliver the kind of solution that adds value to the business.


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