Prototype an IoT Dashboard with Adafruit IO

Last week I built this great demo with an Azure IoT Edge running on Industrial hardware, reading temperature, humidity, fan activity and led activity. But there was something missing…

I needed a simple dashboard to represent the values which were ingested by my Azure IoTHub and sent to an Azure Function.

Normally I build a basic website myself or I use tooling like PowerBI. It’s not that hard to get something sufficiently running for a demo.

But the last couple of weeks I was looking around for generic, off-the-shelf IoT Dashboards. And I had a couple of questions about their capabilities. What is on the market? What connectivity do they use? How many messages can I Ingest per time window? How do I configure the visual components? Etc.

I have reviewed a number of them and then I was checking out Adafruit IO.

This is what they see about themselves:

“Our simple client libraries work with the most popular devices such as the Adafruit Feather Huzzah, ESP8266, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and more.”

I was triggered by the ‘more’ part. Does it also work with non-Adafruit devices? Because I know Adafruit from their DIY electronics shop, I was interested in what they are offering. And I was pleasantly surprised.

Let’s take a look at how we can integrate Adafruit IO in a generic demo with industrial hardware.

Continue reading “Prototype an IoT Dashboard with Adafruit IO”

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Modbus RTU on Azure IoT Edge

Microsoft is serious about IoT Edge. Azure IoT Edge is now GA for a few months and just last week the version was bumped up to 1.0.1.

The same effort is put into Edge modules. Microsoft provides several modules for different protocols like OPC-UA and Modbus.

In the past I already wrote a couple of times about Modbus TCP in IoT Edge. It’s easy to use and reliable. The Microsoft Modbus module is already available in GA. And I even noticed a reference to “docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/azureiotedge/modbus:1.0”.

If you look deeper into the documentation, you can see that the module supports Modbus RTU too!

It’s always good to learn about other protocols so I arranged some hardware and started a journey.

Let’s see what we need to get started with Modbus RTU. Continue reading “Modbus RTU on Azure IoT Edge”

How to tag your IoT Hub Devices

Until now, device twin tags were a bit lame.

Yes, desired and reported properties were much more fun to play with.

But those of you who administer thousands of Azure IoT devices, you really appreciate tags. It’s the only way to control that large amount of devices without losing your head.

Why? Because you first query your devices and then execute jobs on these subsets.

And Microsoft is making use of this feature a lot. You will have to use tags if you want to execute IoT Edge deployments (still in preview) or if you want to use the recently added Automatic Device Management (even newer):

But how do you actually add or alter tags of devices? What tooling is Microsoft providing?

Let’s check out a number of ways to tag and start querying your devices.

Continue reading “How to tag your IoT Hub Devices”

Administer your SQL Server in Docker

As with many things, you have to do it, to believe it.

The same goes for the Azure IoT Edge solution.

With the new IoT Edge solution, Microsoft provides a platform, both powerful and scalable. It’s based on Docker and logic is put in Docker containers.

And in many presentations, this (correct) picture is used to show the capabilities:

I am already working with the IoT Edge preview quite some time and there is a ‘weak’ spot in the image.

I already marked it in red so it’s not that hard to find.

On several occasions, non-technical people explained the local storage as being a database to persist data from internal logic.

I understand the confusion, but this is just a ‘database’ used by the IoT Edge internals (I assume mostly the Edge Hub module) and it is not accessible by users. I know for sure it’s used for the store-and-forward pattern used to send ‘upstream’ messages to the cloud.

Once a message is routed to be sent to the cloud, it’s first stored by the EdgeHub. If the connection to the Azure IoT Hub cannot be established, the message is stored with a certain retention time ( see its configuration “storeAndForwardConfiguration”: { “timeToLiveSecs”: 7200} ).

So, how can we add local storage to our IoT Edge if we want to do something with custom code and databases, etc.

Well, Microsoft already has written a great piece of documentation here.

There, you can see how you create an SQL Server database both on Linux and Windows containers and you learn how to create a database and a table inside it. Finally, you access it using some Azure function.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into this.

We will look on other  (simpler) ways to work with the database.

Continue reading “Administer your SQL Server in Docker”

GABC – Atos Amstelveen zaterdag 21 april 2018

“Intelligent Cloud, Intelligent Edge”

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Voor het derde jaar op rij organiseert Atos de gratis Global Azure Bootcamp op haar hoofdkantoor te Amstelveen.

Aanmelden doe je hier!

Traditioneel ligt bij ons de focus op IoT en dus passeren alle mogelijkheden die Microsoft Azure op dit vlak biedt. Er worden naast presentaties ook verschillende workshops gegeven. En natuurlijk is er voldoende tijd om ook met onze Azure IoT platform experts van gedachten te wisselen. Of je nu vragen hebt over Domotica, Lora, Windows 10 IoT Core of industriële IoT, we gaan samen op zoek naar het antwoord.

De agenda voor de dag ziet er als volgt uit:

9.30 Inloop + ontvangst

10.00 Opening

12.00 Lunch

15.30 Tombola + Afsluiting met een hapje en drankje

Tussendoor zijn er meerdere labs, workshops en natuurlijk presentaties over IoT.

Nieuw is de door ons ontwikkelde workshop waarbij jouw laptop in een Edge gateway verandert. Hierbij krijgt je de opdracht om op eenvoudige wijze data uit een industrieel Modbus protocol naar de Cloud te brengen.

En we hebben wederom de workshop rond Lora en Azure op het programma staan.

Neem je laptop dus zeker mee. Voor de labs en workshops is een installatie van Visual Studio 2017 of Visual Code nodig en een Azure Account. Wie nog geen Azure account heeft krijgt zonder verdere verplichtingen de beschikking over een trial licentie.

Ons adres is:

Atos Nederland

Burgemeester Rijnderslaan 30

1185 MC Amstelveen

https://atos.net/nl/nederland

Route

(Gasten dienen zich op ons hoofdkantoor te kunnen legitimeren. Neem dus een geldig legitimatiebewijs mee.)

Take back control over IoTHub messages in Azure Functions

Azure Functions are a blessing for IoT solutions. To be so flexible executing code whenever messages are arriving, every IoT project is fully depending on it.

But one of the biggest frustrations is the casting of (EventHub) messages towards a string! Only the message body is left! Once a message is passed on to an Azure Function, I only have access to the body of the message. I can not access the (routing) properties anymore.

And before we got Azure Functions, we had to work with Stream Analytics. And I still do! And it’s so nice to have access to the IoT Hub values like the device name of the message. Because I am working with Azure Functions, I have to put it in the Message body first???

It would be great to have access to both the properties and the IoTHub values!

Well, it’s possible now with some clever casting…

Continue reading “Take back control over IoTHub messages in Azure Functions”

Writing commands to IoT Edge Modbus Modules

Microsoft provides several out-of-the-box modules for their Azure IoT Edge platform. If we do a quick search at the Public Docker repository, we see modules like

  • microsoft/iot-edge-opc-publisher
  • microsoft/iot-edge-opc-proxy
  • microsoft/azureiotedge-modbus-tcp
  • etc,

I already have described in a previous blog, how to consume and read data from that Modbus module. After checking out the documentation and some testing, I found out how to write commands back to the device too.

Let’s check out how we can use this in a Custom C# module. After that, we use it in an Azure Functions Module. So let’s do a deeper dive into Azure Functions on the IoT Edge as well.

Continue reading “Writing commands to IoT Edge Modbus Modules”