Azure Functions, Azure IoT Central, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Stream Analytics, Internet of Things
Build with Azure IoT Central and IoT Plug and Play
By Peter Provost Principal PM Manager, Azure IoT
5 min read
We’ve made it our mission to provide powerful yet simple-to-use IoT offerings across cloud and edge, so that our partners and customers can quickly move from idea, to pilot, and then production without the need for deep expertise. Azure IoT Central and IoT Plug and Play are at the center of our quest to simplify the IoT journey so that any customer, no matter where they’re starting from, can quickly and easily create trusted, connected solutions.
Build with Azure IoT Central to integrate new streams of data into your business processes
Azure IoT Central is a fully managed IoT solution that makes it easy to connect, monitor, and manage your IoT devices and products. Azure IoT Central simplifies the initial setup of your IoT solution and reduces the management burden, operational costs, and overhead of a typical IoT project.
A growing population of developers and partners are discovering the powerful ability to build with Azure IoT Central. This approach to building allows you to apply your energy, creativity, and unique domain expertise to solving customer needs and creating business value, while also leaving the dirty work of managing a global scale solution with high availability and disaster recovery to Microsoft. You can create your own finished, branded SaaS product in a fraction of the time while we handle the difficult aspects of operating, managing, securing, and scaling an IoT solution.
New capabilities in Azure IoT Central
Recently, we added features to allow for easier, more seamless integration between Azure IoT Central and a customer’s existing enterprise and line of business solutions, including insights and actions.
- Rules and alerts: The powerful rules engine, backed by Azure Stream Analytics, enables monitoring and alerts on any events that affect device health and usage. It delivers clean and consistent data to the line of business apps by integrating with Azure Functions, Microsoft Flow, and Logic Apps.
- Visualization: Multiple dashboards and data visualization options are available for different types of users. Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, application administrators can now create custom views for different types of users.
- Connectors: Inbound and outbound data connectors allow operators to integrate with third-party systems. Use the device bridge to ingest data from other clouds into an Azure IoT Central application. For example, the continuous data export feature brings data into downstream business applications.
- Personalization: Add custom branding and operator resources to an Azure IoT Central application with new white labeling options for a better visual fit with your organization’s other applications.
- Device management: Manage devices at scale with ease. Copy a job created earlier, save a job to finish later, stop or resume a running job, and download a job details report after completion. The new Device Template library makes it easier to onboard and model devices, while new device authoring separates the template from the device and simplifies the overall experience.
Enabling innovation across industries
Customers building with Azure IoT Central today include Eaton, a global power management company. Eaton provides energy-efficient solutions to effectively manage electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power more efficiently, safely, and sustainably. Eaton is using Azure IoT Central to enable easy application development for its industry-first Energy Management Circuit Breaker (EMCB). This is a next-generation “smart breaker” with the safety functionality of a standard circuit breaker and the cloud-connectivity and on-board intelligence built in to support grid optimization. It is a significant transformation of circuit breaker technology and offers revenue-grade branch circuit metering, communications capabilities, and remote access.
Sagegreenlife is also using Azure IoT Central, in partnership with Cradlepoint, to ensure a superior customer experience. Sagegreenlife creates modular, scalable, and flexible living walls that infuse living design into modern environments. Living design brings our environments to life by combining technology, science, and design to incorporate natural elements into homes, offices, schools, stores, hospitals, and other daily structures. Azure IoT Central allows Sagegreenlife to improve operational efficiency and resolve issues before they have an impact on the plants.
By removing layers of complexity and integrating with your existing solutions and business processes, Azure IoT Central provides organizations with the simplicity they need to create the next wave of innovation in IoT. Azure IoT Central is open for business and ready for you to join the thousands of developers who are using it now.
Have ideas or suggestions for new features? Post it on UserVoice. If you’ve already started exploring Azure IoT Central, please consider taking this survey so we can hear your feedback.
Use IoT Plug and Play to connect devices that integrate seamlessly with your solution
The start of any IoT journey involves connecting things and acquiring data. This requires bringing together disciplines in cloud development, hardware procurement, embedded development, and systems integration so it can be a daunting first step. Such a process often results in prolonged project timelines and can in many cases, delay or even block the successful completion of an IoT digital transformation. Our goal is to provide integration between off-the-shelf devices and cloud solutions to make completion of this critical step much faster. We recently announced IoT Plug and Play, which is based on an open modeling language that allows IoT devices to declare their capabilities.
IoT Plug and Play allows solution developers to integrate devices without writing any embedded code. At the center of IoT Plug and Play is a schema that describes device capabilities. We refer to this as a device capability model, which is a JSON-LD document. It’s structured as a set of interfaces comprised of properties (attributes like firmware version, or settings like fan speed), telemetry (sensor readings such as temperature, or events such as alerts), and commands the device can receive (such as reboot). Interfaces can be reused across device capability models to facilitate collaboration and speed development.
To make IoT Plug and Play work seamlessly with Azure Digital Twins, we have unified the IoT Plug and Play schema with our upcoming Digital Twin Definition Language (DTDL). IoT Plug and Play and the DTDL are open to the community, and Microsoft welcomes collaboration with customers, partners, and the industry. Both are based on open W3C standards such as JSON-LD and RDF, which allows for easier adoption across services and tooling. Additionally, there is no extra cost for using IoT Plug and Play and DTDL. Standard rates for IoT Hub, Azure IoT Central, and other Azure services will remain the same.
All solutions built on Azure IoT, including Azure IoT Central, will support IoT Plug and Play. Today, Azure IoT Central supports modeling properties, telemetry, commands, and semantic types. These will now be formalized into IoT Plug and Play device models. Compal GT100 tracker, for example, is enabled with IoT Plug and Play and shows telemetry in Azure IoT Central.
Compal GT100 tracker enabled with IoT Plug and Play
IoT Plug and Play will be available for preview later this year. We’ve worked with a large set of launch partners to ensure their hardware is certified-ready for IoT Plug and Play. Browse the IoT Plug and Play certified-ready devices in the catalog and download their capability models, or contact the following partners to learn more about their product offerings.
Partners offering IoT Plug and Play certified-ready devices
If you’d like to learn how to participate ahead of the public launch, we’d recommend that you review the definition language available today in GitHub and provide feedback directly. Encourage your close device partners to learn more about IoT Plug and Play and to participate in Azure Certified for IoT ahead of the public launch.
To learn more about the new features in Azure IoT Central or IoT Plug and Play, check out the following resources.
- Learn more about new features in Azure IoT Central.
- Start your free trial of Azure IoT Central.
- View the latest Internet of Things episode to see IoT Plug and Play in action.