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  • Writer's pictureBy Alexander Batenhorst

A Review of Azure IoT Hub

• SDK • C#


Are you ready to take your IoT (Internet of Things) game to the next level? I know I am! After all, this is my first article related directly to my domain name—www.IoTAlex.com. In this blog post, we will review Azure IoT Hub, a cloud-based service that enables developers to connect, monitor, and manage IoT devices. We’ll discuss some of its features and share an example in VS Code—via a GitHub repository (link to repo coming soon). IoT Azure Hub provides a secure and scalable platform for IoT applications and services.


IoT, as a general description, is interconnection of physical devices, vacuum cleaners, buildings, and other objects embedded with sensors, software, and network connectivity that enable them to collect and exchange data. IoT is important for developers because it enables them to create new applications and services that can improve people’s lives.


During a presentation by Sudarsan at the Azure Omaha User Group, he gave a demo over message routing, checking the message logs in Azure IoT hub using VS Code, and using a device simulator (reading from the service). To paraphrase his description of IoT, in the context of Azure IoT Hub, is any two devices (anything) that can talk to each other connected online to a central hub.


Free is Good


Azure IoT Hub provides a free trial that can be set up on Microsoft’s Azure portal page. The trial offers end-to-end VPN encryption as the first option on setup and allows users to increase partitions and devices. It also provides five security policies.


In addition to this, Azure IoT Hub offers a device provisioning service that enables scalable and secure device enrollment. It provides flexible attestation and automatic device registrations. Provisions are provided in SDKs (i.e. ways to explore programming with Azure IoT Hub via SDKs), including SDKs for multiple programming languages, Azure IoT Explorer, Azure IoT Central, and Visual Studio code-based tools.


Communication Bridge


Azure IoT Hub acts as a communication bridge between IoT devices and the cloud. It offers three paths for data processing:

  • Hot path – real-time processing

  • Warm path – data processing but not real-time

  • Cold path – accumulates data over time

For example, in the case of a thermostat alerting the user that their thermostat is not connected, the warm path would be used—data processing. These are the three different data processing paths offered between the device and Azure IoT Hub.


One of the major features of Azure IoT Hub is message routing. It offers a lot of different use cases—for extraordinary needs. Since IoT devices are expected to shut down, there is a high probability of device sleeping. Then there is the issue of pervasive availability of affordable sensors. Which isn’t a true issue but rather floods the market with all sorts of choices/applications for IoT devices. All of which could be applied using Azure IoT Hub. Then there are advancements in connectivity and the rise of cloud computing, which greatly impacts the way we can use devices presently and in the future.


Conclusion


Azure IoT Hub is a powerful and versatile service that enables developers to connect, monitor, and manage IoT devices in the cloud. It offers various features and benefits, such as device provisioning, message routing, three types of data processing, and security policies. It also supports multiple SDKs and tools for different programming languages and platforms. Azure IoT Hub is a great choice for anyone who wants to build scalable and secure IoT applications and services—yet another SDK that’s free to explore. You can explore more resources on the official documentation. I hope you enjoyed this review and learned something new about Azure IoT Hub. Thank you for reading!


If you want to try Azure IoT Hub yourself, you can check out Sudarsan's repo as an example (link coming when available). You can also find more resources and tutorials on the official Azure IoT Hub website: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products/iot-hub.


Sources as of 08/02/2023 Microsoft. (2021, July 14). What is Azure IoT Hub? [Web page]. Microsoft Docs. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/iot-hub/about-iot-hub

Srinivasan, S. (2023, July 19). IoT Azure Hub [presentation]. Presented at the Azure Omaha User Group meetup in person at Concentra.

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