Build The Intelligent Edge with Azure IoT
This year we will be giving away Azure IoT Development Kits to Pixels Camp teams, in order to provide participants with the unique opportunity to create hardware-based projects with zero assembly required!
The AZ3166 Board
These kits are based on the MxChip AZ3166 IoT Development Board, which provides an especially nice starting point for cloud-enabling your hardware projects:
It includes a number of sensors, saving you a lot of time in prototyping (and making the hardware immediately useful)
It has built-in support (and Arduino libraries) to securely connect to Azure IoT Hub over Wi-Fi and let you instantly send data to the cloud for real-time processing and storage
This means you can start sending sensor data to the cloud immediately — track motion, monitor temperature and humidity, or have your users press a button to signal your cloud application. But… Wait, there’s more!
You can also receive control messages from a cloud app (and display messages, turn on lights, play sounds…), which means you can use it as the core of just about any IoT project you might think of!
And, of course, there is a VS Code extension to provide a seamless development experience.
Getting Your Kit
There are only three things you need to know about getting your kit:
- There is a limited number of kits — first come, first served.
- You need to be part of a project team to claim your kit (we’ll ask you for your project ID/URL, so you need to have put together a team and registered it on the event site).
- One kit per project — no exceptions, sorry, we want to make sure as many teams as possible can join in the fun.
We’ll also hand out an Azure Pass with each kit, so that you can create an IoT Hub to collect the device data and build your entire project on Azure (including database, serverless functions, web site, etc.)
Kits will be handed out at the Microsoft booth starting at 15:00 on the first day of the event, so that you have time to have lunch and register your project. We would love to be able to follow up with you both during and after the event to get feedback from your experience developing for Azure IoT!
Hints & Tips
As in everything, planning is key, so here are a few hints and tips:
- Think big — don’t be tied to what the hardware can do on its own, but consider what it can do as part of a larger solution: As a remote sensor to detect anomalies in manufacturing processes, as an end device to improve medical follow-up — the sky’s the limit here.
- Try to figure out where the hardware fits into your project idea before starting to code, and which cloud services you want to use to do what. We’ll be there at the event to help you decide what is best/easiest for your use case, so don’t hesitate to ask!
- Focus on the concept and build core features — this is a hackathon, and good ideas with simple prototypes are more effective than “perfect” implementations.
- You can send and receive JSON data easily, but remember that Arduino uses C++, so you might want to use an even simpler data format to ease debugging (and coding on the device side).
- Plan for how you intend to demo your project — the MxChip will run off any USB power source, so any power pack will do to make your project handily portable, but it can be hard for people to see from a distance.
- A final note regarding demos: you want to demo it on stage (and we’d love to see that happen and have an IoT project win this year’s event), you need to get creative: bring a webcam, talk to the event team to see if it’s possible to have a cameraman on stage, record a demo video, etc.
Documentation & Examples
If you’re new to Azure, we have a set of starter tutorials and literally gigabytes of documentation, but don’t panic — we will be at the Microsoft booth to answer any question you might have.
But here are some links you might want to keep handy:
- The MxChip IoT Developer Kit Get Started page (also available here in our IoT docs)
- A great community tutorial showing how to connect IoT Hub to Azure Functions (this is probably the best way to get started)
- A hands-on video on how to control the MxChip remotely using NodeJS There are thousands of official and community resources on Azure (and hundreds on the MxChip alone) so everything you need to know is just a quick web search away.
Even if hardware is not your thing, we would like you to know that, just like last time, Azure Cognitive Services are available as a free trial that you can use to add artificial intelligence capabilities to any kind of project—have your app recognise objects and faces from photographs, understand natural language, or respond to voice commands, all with simple REST calls and no strings attached!
Also, for those of you interested in trying out Azure cloud services (and Xbox… hint hint!), we will have a few more surprises at our booth, so be sure to stop by!