The preview release of Microsoft IoT Central

The preview release of Microsoft IoT Central

Yesterday Microsoft released IoT Central in public preview. A SaaS based solutions for IoT projects. This blog post will explain how to set up a trial IoT central and how you can create  new devices in the platform with rules. IoT central is still in preview, so a lot of functions are coming soon.

Some first thoughts of the service

These thoughts are based on the public preview release of december 2017:

1. Important thing I a missing or cannot found. Lot of our clients are using Sigfox or LORA protocol for device communication to Azure. I looks now this is not supported at the moment. Only developed devices with the Azure IoT SDK or other SDK (so that you can send clear (JSON)data) are supported. It would be great if we can connect Sigfox or Lora protocol devices to the platform and translate the message directly in IoT central. This will give a lot of opportunities for this platform.

2. Lot of functions are still in ‘coming soon’. Actions with e-mail for example is not really a scenario I can use in my current projects. I hope coming soon is really soon 🙂

3. I would love to have some Power BI integration in the future, so clients can create their own reports based on the data.

4. But… This SaaS solution can  be great for a lot of IoT projects. Costs are relative low for companies, it’s a managed service, so you don’t need to maintain IoT hub, Stream Analytics or other Azure services. And with a lot of device templates IoT projects could be start really fast within a day.

How do I create my own trial?

First of all you can create a free trial for 30 days. After the trial you will pay 500 dollars per month with 100 devices. Every additional device will cost 50 dollar cents per month. You will get a trial up and running in some minutes. If you go to the create a free trial page, you need to enter your application name, URL and Azure subscription.

Create application

After that you can select three templates:

1. Custom App; it’s totally blank and you can create the app from scratch

2. Sample application (I use this one)

3. Sample Devkits; I own a MXchip Devkit, so I will test this later.

After hitting the ok button, the application will be enabled (within minutes). You will  enter the start page of your application.

Startpage IoT Central

Because I have selected the sample Contoso application. I have directly a homepage with some elements on it. As a administrator I can set up my own homepage with own blocks.

On the left you can navigate in your application:

Menu IoT Central

From there you can create your own IoT devices. Click on device explorer and select New Real devices:

Create a device

After you create a device, you can add one or more measurements to the device. Currently only Telemetry is supported.

Create telemetry

You can create for example a temperature measurement like below

Create measurements

From the device you can also create rules based on the telemetry data from a device. From the device you can create currently only telemetry, the rest is coming soon.

Create telemetry rule

In the rule you can configure, that when the temperature is above 50 degrees an action need to be started. Currently only e-mail is supported.

Rules and actions

The other services are once again in coming soon mode, but they are very interesting.

I think this will be a great service if the blocks of ‘Coming Soon’ are gone and integration of LORA/Sigfox device protocol (HEX) would be great to start projects really fast. Else I have to create a service in front, that will translate the message and send that to IoT Central…

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