Many developers are interesting in building Internet of Things solutions; whether it’s as a side project or something for Enterprise use. With all the Consumer and Industrial IoT products out today and being worked on, it’s certainly an interesting space to work in. However, it can be a bit challenging, and possibly daunting, for developers to get started with building IoT solutions with Microsoft Azure. As a result, many developers have had to do research in many areas and figure out their own learning path. Today, as part of the Build 2017 conference, Microsoft has announced the availability of a number of technical trainings available from Microsoft and other third-parties.

As a means of simplifying your journey to learning how to develop Internet of Things solutions with  the Microsoft Azure cloud, the technical training announced provide structured paths to follow. This structured Azure IoT training will guide you through navigating all the different Azure IoT Suite services (Azure IoT Hub, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Service Bus, Event Hubs, Azure Functions, Cosmos DB / DocumentDB, Azure Machine Learning and more) in the affect of how to design and build full IoT solutions. You no longer need to piece together documentation articles in order to learn how to build IoT solutions with Azure.

Azure IoT Training Courses

I am proud to mention a collaboration I worked on with Microsoft and Opsgility to create and publish the all new Building IoT Solutions with Azure on-demand training course from Opsgility. This is the most recent course I’ve worked on creating, recording and publishing, and am very excited for everyone to use it to learn how to build IoT solutions with Azure!

The Building IoT Solutions with Azure course created by me (Chris Pietschmann), published on Opsgility.com, goes through by starting with an introduction to the Internet of Things and what Azure has to offer IoT. Then the course continues to dive into the specifics of each of the different Azure IoT services. The course also includes a Hands-on Lab that guides you through building a full IoT Solution using Azure IoT Suite, Visual Studio, UWP (Universal Windows Platform) application coding, Raspberry Pi, and Windows 10 IoT Core operating system. Plus, the Hands-on Lab comes in 2 variations: 1) you build the IoT solutions using a Raspberry Pi device, and 2) you build the IoT solution using a Simulated Device.

Here’s an outline of the different modules included in this course:

  • Module 1: Overview of the Azure IoT Platform
    • Covers “What is IoT?” and what Azure has to offer building IoT solutions
  • Module 2: Azure Certified for IoT Devices & Platforms
    • Covers what the Azure Certified for IoT program is, what starter kits are available, and an introduction to both Raspberry Pi and Arduino IoT development
  • Module 3: Gateways
    • Covers building Field Gateways and Protocol Gateways in your IoT solutions
  • Modules 4: Real-Time Ingest & Storage
    • Cover IoT messaging protocols and real-time ingestion of device event data into the cloud and storing it using Azure IoT Hub and Event Hubs.
  • Module 5: Real-Time Processing
    • Covers implementing real-time analytics of IoT event data utilizing Lambda Architecture with services like Azure Stream Analytics, HDInsight with Apache Storm, Azure Web Jobs, Azure Functions, and more.
  • Module 6: Command and Control
    • Covers how to implement cloud-to-device messaging using Azure IoT Hub device management and device-twins.
  • Module 7: Intelligence & Machine Learning
    • Covers how to utilize Lambda Architecture to analyze event data and add intelligence to your IoT solutions by using Azure Machine Learning and Cortana Intelligence.
  • Module 8: Device Management & Security
    • Covers the fundamentals and best practice scenarios of how to manage thousands or even millions of IoT Devices connected to Azure IoT Hub, and how to correctly implement security in your IoT solutions

If you’r interested in taking the Building IoT Solutions with Azure course from Opsgility, and don’t yet have an Opsgility on-demand account, you can quickly sign up for Visual Studio Essentials to get access to this course with a Free 3-month Membership.  If you are also a Visual Studio Professional or Visual Studio Enterprise subscriber, then you can also get access to a Free 3-month Membership to Opsgility as well.

Additional Azure IoT Training from Others

There are a few Azure IoT training courses that were announced by Microsoft at the Build 2017 conference as well. Here’s the full list of additional Azure IoT training courses available from Microsoft and other 3rd parties:

Azure IoT Starter Kits

When learning how to build IoT solutions you can often use simulated devices for many things. However, there are some things that do require you to have real, physical hardware, sensors and actuators. Whether you’re working on a learning project, side project, or an enterprise or industrial IoT solutions there are times when there’s no replacement for physical hardware.

Here’s some example solutions and Starter Kits available that include everything you need to get started building IoT solutions with Microsoft Azure IoT:

Adafruit – Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3 Kit

This kit provides everything needed to get started using Raspberry Pi, Azure IoT and Windows 10 IoT Core.

Adafruit – Microsoft Azure IoT Starter Kit w/ Adafruit Feather HUZZAH

This kit provides everything needed to get started using the Arduino-compatible Adafruit Feather HUZZAH and Azure IoT. This board even includes integrated Wifi!

Adafruit – Microsoft Aure IoT Starter Kit w/ Adaruit Feather M0 Wifi

This kit provides everything needed to get started using the Arduino-compatible Adafruit Feather M0 board and Azure IoT. This board even includes integrated Wifi!

SparkFun Thing – Microsoft Azure IoT Starter Kit

This kit provides everything needed to get started using the SparkFun Thing and Azure IoT.

Grove Starter Kit for IoT based on Raspberry Pi

The Grove Starter Kit for IoT uses the Grove+ platform that provides an easy to use plug-n-play IoT device prototyping platform. This system is almost like IoT Legos!! One thing to note about the Microsoft IoT Grove Starter Kit, is that it does NOT include a Raspberry Pi board. If you purchase this kit, you will need to additionally purchase a Raspberry Pi 2 or Raspberry Pi 3 to use with it.

For more information about the Microsoft IoT Grove Kit and the GrovePi+ plug-n-play system, I recommend you go ready my overview of the Microsoft IoT Grove Kit for Raspberry Pi and my overview of the GrovePi+ plug-n-play platform.

There is also a cheaper alternative to the Microsoft IoT Grove Kit, called the GrovePi+ Starter Kit. It doesn’t include quite as much stuff, like the LCD screen, as the Microsoft kit, but it’s cheaper and still provides you everything you’ll need to get using the GrovePi+ with your Raspberry Pi projects.

Additional Items for Any IoT Solution

Whether you’re interested in purchasing one of the above kits, or piecing your own custom combination of hardware together, here’s a list of some useful IoT hardware that you may find useful:

I hope these resources and starter kits really help you get started or get moving further along with building your own Internet of Things and Azure IoT solutions!

Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Microsoft Certified (MCSD) Azure Solutions Architect. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

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