Here’s a webinar I hosted for Opsgility recently titled “Introduction to Building IoT Solutions with Microsoft Azure”. In this webinar, I provide an overview of building Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with Microsoft Azure. I discuss the different services within Azure IoT Suite for building IoT solutions, as well as general architecture patterns used to build manageable and maintainable IoT solutions in the cloud. In addition to all the amazing Azure cloud capabilities, it also covers the basics around IoT prototyping hardware using Raspberry Pi and Arduino hardware platforms, as well as using Visual Studio to build Windows 10 UWP apps that can run on the Windows 10 IoT Core operating system. Read More
The Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit is an Arduino compatible board built for helping with prototyping Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. The key difference with this board compared to many others available is that, unlike most, the Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit has a number of hardware sensors built directly on the board. This eliminates the need to have electronics knowledge and the need to do any wiring or soldering in order to get started prototyping IoT solutions. This article gives an overview of the built-in sensors on this board. Read More
Microsoft Visual Studio Code is a cross-platform, Node.js-based IDE (Integrated Development Environment). It’s been maturing into a really amazing development tool. It’s not really the tool itself as it’s all the amazing plugins or extensions that are being developed for it that are enable some really amazing functionality and development scenarios. One of these awesome extensions is the “Arduino for Visual Studio Code” extension. This extension adds the ability to program Arduino and Arduino-compatible devices using Visual Studio Code as an alternative to the Arduino IDE. Read More
There have been a number of Azure IoT Starter Kits available for some time now. I’ve written about the Starter Kits in the past. Some of these like the Raspberry Pi Azure IoT Starter Kit from Adafruit require you to wire up sensors and things, while the GrovePi+ is similar to a Lego Mindstorm but for prototyping Internet of Things devices. It seems that Microsoft is finally consolidating onto a specific “Azure IoT Developer Kit”, and they’ve already made early previews available upon application. This new Azure IoT “DevKit” is a single board packed with sensors, buttons, OLED screen, and more! Plus, it’s Arduino compatible! Read More
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. Read More
The all new Microsoft Azure IoT Edge brings down the power and capabilities of Azure IoT down to run natively on individual Internet of Things devices. This will enable scenarios that require much lower latencies to be built with real-time analytics and intelligence on running on the IoT devices (at the edge). Also, the devices supported include a broad range of IoT hardware which includes much more than just Raspberry Pi with the inclusion of lower powered devices as well.
Azure IoT Edge enabled you to build Hybrid IoT Solutions the bridge the gap and merge the Cloud IoT and local, device IoT capabilities into a single cohesive mesh. This allows you to easily orchestrate IoT cloud services in Azure to run on your IoT devices at the edge. This allows you to get the best of both Cloud and On-Premises worlds in your IoT solutions providing intelligence and analysis on the edge closer to your devices with up to 20x reduction in decision latency!
Here are some of the benefits and advantages of using Azure IoT Edge:
- Run artificial intelligence at the edge
- Perform edge analytics
- Deploy IoT solutions from cloud to edge
- Manage devices centrally from the cloud
- Operate with offline and intermittent connectivity
- Enable real-time decisions
- Connect new and legacy devices
- Reduce bandwidth costs
The Azure IoT Edge was just announced today at Build 2017, and promises to be a truly great advancement in building IoT solutions. Microsoft even showed a really great demonstration of implementing it in Industrial IoT that resulted in 20x reduction in decision latency and emergency response in a factory.
Azure IoT Edge looks really awesome, and I look forward to learning more about it!
The Grove IoT Commercial Gateway Kit from Seeed is the result of a partnership between Microsoft and Intel to create a starter kit for rapidly prototyping commercial IoT gateways. This kit finally makes it easy to setup and create Azure IoT Gateways with the Gateway SDK on a physical device. And, it’s powered by an Intel NUC and Wind River Linux. Read More
Are you looking to get something for a friend or family member who’s into making their own hardware devices, or want to get started but don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of some of the coolest IoT and Hardware Maker products that would make great gifts for your favorite geek!
The following list contains items of varying prices, and is sorted with the lowest priced items first.
Arduino Uno – $16
This is the Arduino Uno board only. While the Arduino Starter Kit (listed below) includes the board and many other thing necessary to get started, this board alone is fairly cheap. You can buy an additional board to add to the Starter Kit, or just buy the board as a gift for someone who already has some of the other components.
Raspberry Pi Zero Starter Kit – $29.99 USD
The Raspberry Pi Zero Starter Kit from CanaKit contains a Raspberry PI Zero computer board, and all the other necessities required to play and get it running!
The starter kit contains the following items:
- Raspberry Pi Zero board
- 8 GB MicroSD Card – pre-loaded with NOOBS
- mini-HDMI adapter
- 1A micro-USB PowerSupply
- USB OTG cable
This starter kit contains all the hardware necessary to get started playing with the Raspberry Pi Zero! The only things that don’t come with the kit that you need to add is a TV or PC monitor with a Keyboard and Mouse.
Circuit Playground from Adafruit – $29.99 USD
The Circuit Playground from Adafruit is an all-in-one board with integrated sensors and LEDs. It’s a neat platform to practice getting started with programming on a real hardware device, without the need to solder or assemble anything!
Here’s some of the things built into the Circuit Playground board:
- 10x mini NeoPixels, each can display any color
- 2x push buttons
- 1x slide switch
- Motion sensor
- Temperature sensor
- Light sensor
- Sound sensor
- Mini speaker
- 8x alligator-clip friendly input/output pins
The Circuit Playground from Adafruit is Arduino IDE compatible, and connects to a computer using a Micro-USB cable so it can be programmed. Plus, all the features of this little board are packed into a size that’s about as wide as 2x US Quarters!
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B – $35
This is the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B board only. This tiny little computer was built to help teach computer engineering in schools, and it packs a ton of functionality into a tiny package. It’s built on a quad-core 1.2Ghz ARM processor, 1 GB RAM, and has a few other features built onto the board that can boot from an SD Card and run the Linux / Raspbian operating system, as well as the new Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core.
This little board can be used to play Minecraft, surf the web, learn programming, plus many, many other things! It’s really a full computer that only costs $35! Plus, it’s only a little larger than the size of a credit card!
Here are some of the features built into this amazing, little computer:
- 1.2 Ghz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
- 1 GB RAM
- 802.11n Wifi
- Bluetooth 4.1 + Bluetooth Low Energy
- 4 USB ports
- 1 Ethernet port – 10/100Mbps
- 40 GPIO pins
- Full HDMI port
- Combined 3.5mm audio jack + composite video
- MicroSD card slot
SparkFun Thing ESP8266 IoT Dev Kit – $39.95
The SparkFun Thing Microsoft Azure IoT Starter Kit includes a SparkFun Thing board, with integrated Wifi, and a few other components perfect for getting started building IoT projects. The SparkFun thing board is Arduino compatible, so the Arduino IDE can be used for programming.
Here’s some of what comes with the SparkFun Things IoT Starter Kit:
- SparkFun ESP8266 Thing Dev Board, w/ integrated Wifi
- Humidity + Temperature Sensor
- Mini Photocell
- 20 pack of LEDs
- MicroUSB cable
- Jumper Wires
- Resistors – 10K and 330 Ohm
Raspberry Pi 7″ Touchscreen Display – $67.99
The Official Raspberry Pi 7″ Touchscreen Display is the perfect addition to any Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 board. It features a full color LCD display with 800 x 480 resolution, plus full, capacitive touchscreen support!
The touchscreen display connects directly to the Raspberry Pi and includes everything you need to connect it up and use it!
This does NOT come with a Raspberry Pi board, that will need to be purchases separately.
Arduino Starter Kit – $70 USD
The official Arduino Starter Kit comes with all the parts and instructions to build 15 projects. It includes the instructions in a 170 page book, plus all the necessary parts for all the projects in the book. This kit is full of everything needed to get started building projects with the Arduino platform.
Here’s a short list of some of the items included in this kit:
- Arduino Projects Book (170 pages)
- Arduino Uno board
- Alphanumeric LCD
- Tilt sensor
- Temperature sensor
- Push buttons
- LEDs (multiple colors)
- and more
Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit – $74.99 USD
The Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit from CanaKit includes all the hardware necessary to be able to start using the Raspberry Pi 3 and get it running. This kit includes the latest Raspberry Pi 3 board along with a few other essentials that you’ll need.
Here’s a list of the items included in this kit:
- Raspberry Pi 3 Model B board
- Integrated Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity
- 32 GB MicroSD card (Class 10) pre-loaded with NOOBS
- 2.5A USB Power Supply
- Raspberry Pi Case
- HDMI cable
- 2x heat sinks
- GPIO quick reference card
Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi 3 – $114.95
The Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi is an IoT builder kit that comes with everything needed to start building IoT solutions with real hardware. This kit includes a Raspberry Pi 3 (the latest version with integrated Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity), a few sensors, LEDs, microSD card, and power adapter.
This kit includes the following items:
- Raspberry Pi 3 board
- Raspberry Pi Case
- Full Size Breadboard
- Male/Male Jumper Wires
- Female/Male Jumper Wires
- 5V 2A Switching Power Supply w/ MicroUSB Cable
- Adafruit BME280 Temperature, Barometric Pressure & Humidity Sensor
- TCS34725 RGB Color Sensor
- MCP3008 – 8 Channel 10-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter Chip
- Ethernet Cable
- 16GB MicroSD card with pre-loaded NOOBS
- Tactile switches
This kit comes with EVERYTHING needed to start building IoT projects. The breadboard can be used to connect things up without the need for soldering, or a solder iron could be used to permanently connect things after prototyping.
Microsoft IoT Grove Kit for Raspberry Pi – $154.99
The Microsoft IoT Grove Kit for Raspberry Pi contains the easy to use Grove system for building IoT. The foundation of the Grove system is the GrovePi+ board that allows you to easily connect Grove Modules for rapid prototyping without requiring any soldering or building of custom hardware components. This kit lowers the hardware barrier. This is the perfect platform for prototyping, and for makers who are new to hardware.
The Microsoft IoT Grove Kit for Raspberry Pi includes:
- 5 inch HDMI Display with USB Touchscreen
- Relay module
- Temp + Humidity Sensor module
- Ultrasonic Ranger module
- LED Bar v2 module
- Rotary angle sensor(P) module
- Buzzer module
- Sound sensor module
- Light sensor module
- Button module
- LCD RGB Backlight module
- Cables for connecting everything
This kit DOES NOT include the Raspberry Pi board. If one is needed, then you could buy just the Raspberry Pi 3 board, or a better option would be to just get the Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit in addition to this kit to have absolutely everything needed to prototype and build custom IoT solutions.
Additional Items for Raspberry Pi
If you’re getting one of the above Raspberry Pi items, then you may want to include an extra to be sure to have EVERYTHING necessary to get building and playing without the need for a trip to the store after opening that awesome IoT / Maker gift. Here’s a short list of a few items that work really nicely with the Raspberry Pi to help complete the package:
I hope you, and your friends and family have a great holiday season. And best of luck to finding the perfect Maker / IoT gift for your favorite Geek!
Having trouble choosing what Arduino or Raspberry Pi hardware to use for getting started building Internet of Things (IoT) devices? There’s a lot of choices to navigate, and not all boards have integrated Wifi or Ethernet either. To help with this process, Microsoft has a few “Azure Certified for IoT” Starter Kits. These kits provide the perfect platform to get started! Read More