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Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT)

Definition (From Wikipedia): The Internet of things (IoT) describes physical objects (or groups of such objects) that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks

Definition: In Simple words, where human intervention is not required, still data is collected by different devices and sent to a central system to process the data. This entire structure is called IoT – Internet of Things.

Internet Of Things (IoT) Example

  • Refer to the figure below
  • IoT Example
  • There’s a small town which is well equipped with solar panels in different areas of the town.
  • Imagine a few of them are not performing well, a few of them are working perfectly fine and a few are completely stopped, then it will be very difficult to track such grids manually every time.
  • Let’s establish an IoT system on these panels, make the data available online/internet. The devices attached to the panels will keep sending the data/status of all the panels.
  • Now it can easily be tracked on a device by the technical staff and the issue can be fixed as soon as it appears. This can save a lot of energy getting wasted.

There are mainly three Azure IoT services that you need to know to start with.

IoT Hub

  • This is PAAS (Platform As A Service) offering from Azure.
  • This is a Hub or central area or backend that collects all your data from all the devices (Things).
  • IoT Hub can receive data from millions and billions of devices.
  • IoT Hub will ensure that the entire IT solution is managed and secure.
  • New devices can also be easily added to existing IoT solutions providing scalability.
  • You get the benefits like scaled resources, device authentication, and managed infrastructure.
  • Use IoT Hub where you need more control over the entire process of how you collect and manage the data.
  • IoT Hub provides a security-enhanced channel to send and receive data from IoT devices.
  • Device Update for IoT Hub: This is a service that enables you to update IoT Hub devices via over-the-air deployment.
  • It has full integration with Event Grid and Serverless compute to support development.

IoT Central

  • This is a SAAS (Software As A Service) offering
  • IoT Central is an application platform that simplifies the creation of IoT solutions.
  • You don’t need to write any code to connect all your devices/things to IoT Central.
  • Whatever the data IoT Central collects from your devices, IoT central will provide you with all the metrics, dashboards, analytics, and rules to manage them all.
  • There are hundreds of ways to connect IoT solutions and the data to your other solution with pre-made connections in Azure.
  • It provides quick connectivity between IoT and devices.
  • It has central management to update and reconfigure devices.
  • IoT Central is a bridge between IoT data and business applications.

Azure Sphere

  • Azure Sphere is an all-in-one solution for IoT devices.
  • To use Azure Sphere, you need to use a specific hardware chipset approved and certified by Azure, in all your IoT devices.
  • You get Azure Sphere security service, which manages the maintenance, updates, and control of the Sphere IoT devices.
  • It is a secure application platform with built-in communication and security features for devices that are connected to the internet.
  • On all these devices, the Azure Sphere Operating system runs. This OS is made only for Sphere devices and it will connect to the Azure security services too.
  • So basically, Azure Sphere mandates what hardware you use but then gives you security features and an IoT development platform in return.

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