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Investigating Micro$oft Azure

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    • #16383
      neilh20
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      I’ve seeing articles on Azure and been curious about it, so I dug a bit deeper.

      IoT is complex, so my starting point is to simplify and focus on environmental outdoor monitoring, or technically the “eco system” associated with ModularSensors from sensor to visualization.

      For me the strengths of ModularSensors on Mayfly/Solar, are the interface to instruments that can be deployed in a riparian context with Solar Panels and low-cost LiIon batteries with easy visualization on MonitorMyWatershed (MMW) and potentially long-term storage of the data, in years. Storage of readings,  .. over a decade is valuable as it makes an internet site  like monitormywatershed.org a good reference. Of course, the Mayfly Xbee socket supports a variety of potential communication channels – Cellular, WiFi and potentially others.

      Azure  by  Micro$oft, is part of the large companies portfolio looking to sell sensors and data processing as a service. Its seems like its the equivalent of MMW, but …. digging into Azure, its how to get a reasonably useful visualization, at a low cost. Azure seems to be a collection of architectures running Microsoft services – not surprising, but not easy – except if you already know Microsoft.

      For me, I’ve been attracted by the simple descriptions, but they don’t show the key visualization features.

      blog.benjamin-cabe.com/2020/08/05/connecting-the-wio-terminal-to-azure-iot

      blog.benjamin-cabe.com/2021/08/03/how-i-built-a-connected-artificial-nose

      So again, these don’t show how to visualize the data. To do that I found this tutorial – but this is how to build a web page that can display the data.

      https://github.com/microsoft/IoT-For-Beginners/tree/main/3-transport/lessons/3-visualize-location-data

      This reminds me of thingspeak.com – but it has a much easier system to display simple sensors. Here is my rain gauge  thingspeak.com/channels/8652 which doesn’t show much, but it was easy to see basic data collected.  Some years ago I built  web page that pulls from thingspeak (and someday thingspeak may block me using it)  azonde.org/pm2/LiveRainGauge3.htm As of writing this, it only  shows fog drip – you have to navigate back to Oct 24<sup>th</sup> to see our rain storms.

      Its pretty easy thanks to a high chart integration with thingspeak  github.com/neilh10/thingspeakmultichannel-highcharts

      Azure, gives some examples of doing simple measurements, with a nice device – so good teaching, but seems to me not very realistic for the real world, and no examples of visualizations.

      github.com/microsoft/IoT-For-Beginners

      It gets complicated very quickly azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/iot

      So overall, I’ve not been able to make this work – not so say that some one else who knows Microsoft Architecture might really appreciate it, but just doesn’t seem to be worth the work, it doesn’t have the “easy Arduino” feel about it that makes it so easy to use monitormywatershed.org

      Though the hardware used in the example is a rather spiffy module. seeedstudio.com/Wio-Terminal-p-4509.html

      Could this module be used by itself for low cost monitoring?. I wonder can ModularSensors run on this module?

      There are challenges – how to have Wio Terminal “Low Power”, solar powered and interfaces simply to SDI-12 or RS485 and analog with switch power.    Something for the future.

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