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Enhancements to Azure IoT Hub improve management of the full device lifecycle

The Azure IoT Hub engineering team has been hard at work adding new functionality to device twins and extending the device management story to the complete device lifecycle. Important enhancements include: automatic device provisioning, device twin change notifications, device twin import/export, device twins and direct methods support for Java SDK.

In November of this past year, we announced the general availability of Azure IoT Hub device management which introduced device twins, direct methods, and jobs to simplify the management of IoT devices. Since that time, the engineering team has been hard at work adding new functionality to device twins and extending the device management story to the complete device lifecycle.

The five stages of the IoT device lifecycle: plan, provision, configure, monitor, and retire

At the Build 2017 Conference this week, we are talking about the following device lifecycle enhancements available either today or very soon for all Azure IoT Hub customers:

Automatic device provisioning – The Azure IoT Hub team is committed to reducing the complexity and time required during the provisioning stage of the device lifecycle. Last month we announced Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning which enables zero-touch provisioning to an IoT hub without requiring human intervention. This functionality is currently being previewed by a group of early adopters. We'll make further announcements as we grow closer to public availability.

Device twin change notifications –   Device twins change notifications allow back end applications to be notified in real-time of twin changes and react as business logic requires. For instance, when building an application that notifies an operator directly that a device has a firmware update pending and is “ready to update”.  This is accomplished by creating a routing rule from the “Twin Change Events” source and filtering all events that involve the software update status.

Device twin change notifications are available beginning today in both new and existing IoT hubs.

Device lifecycle notifications – Device lifecycle notifications allow back end applications to be notified in real-time of device identities being created or deleted in your IoT hub. This adds flexibility when designing your device provisioning and deprovisioning logic, especially when it involves multiple back-end systems in addition to IoT Hub. Just as with device twin change notifications, device lifecycle notifications are accessed by creating a routing rule from the “Device Lifecycle Events” source.

Device lifecycle notifications are also available beginning today in a new and existing IoT hubs in the West US 2 region. The updated functionality will be rolling out to all geographies throughout the month of May.

Device twin import/export – The Azure IoT Hub service allows developers and operators to bulk manage IoT devices, for example, to build a highly available solution or for disaster recoveryBeginning today, bulk import/export capability is available for device twins for all existing and new IoT hubs across all regions. Please refer to the bulk management tutorial for more information on this enhancement.

Device twins and direct methods support for Java SDK – Beginning this spring we have updates to the Java SDK to support device twins and direct methods. In addition, we have updated the direct methods tutorial to now include Java.

With this release, Azure IoT Hub now has device twins and direct methods support for all the major SDKs: C, Node.js, C#, Python, and now Java.

We’re excited to announce and highlight our continued investment in simplifying the overall development experience for device management support in the following device and OS implementations:

Device management for the STMicroelectronics STM32 Nucleo – STMicroelectronics has collaborated with Azure IoT to bring an out-of-box implementation of device management to the STM32 Nucleo Pack for IoT Node platform.  This includes ready to use binaries that connect a STM32 board to a web dashboard experience hosted in Azure and uses Azure IoT Hub for device control including firmware update. Please refer to the Quick Start Guide and FP-CLD-AZURE1 firmware site for more information.

Device management in Windows IoT Core – Last month as part of the Windows 10 Creators Updates, the  Windows IoT team announced out-of-box support for Azure IoT Hub device management. This open source library allows developers to easily add Azure IoT Hub device management capabilities to any Windows IoT Core device. This includes support for device restart, certificate and application management, as well as many other important capabilities. Full information and source code for the library can be found on the Windows IoT Core GitHub site.

Azure IoT continues to stay committed to offering our customers services which take the pain out of deploying and managing IoT solutions in a secure, reliable way. Please visit the documentation which describes the full Azure IoT Hub's device management capabilities. We would love to get your feedback so please continue to submit your suggestions through the Azure IoT User Voice forum or join the Azure IoT Advisors Yammer group.

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