Microsoft launches IoT Hub to ingest data from the physical world

The service helps companies manage a massive fleet of embedded devices

Microsoft's Azure IoT Hub for managing fleets of devices that collect data about the the physical world will be made generally available on Thursday.

The product, which was announced in September, allows companies to provision, manage and ingest data from millions of devices that are part of the internet of things. It's designed to help companies ignore the messy business of figuring out how to handle a fleet of IoT devices and focus on the hardware and software. 

At its core, Azure IoT Hub serves as the backend for telling embedded devices what to do, and then getting data back from them in order to power applications. One of the advantages to using it over building a similar system from scratch is that Azure IoT Hub is designed to integrate with Microsoft's other cloud services.

That means developers who want to build an intelligent software backend for their devices would have an easier time getting the information into something like Azure Machine Learning for processing and action. 

Users pay for Azure IoT hub on a per-message basis, whether it's a message from a device to Azure, or one from the cloud to a physical device. Microsoft offers a free tier that lets users try out the service with up to 500 devices and sending up to 8,000 messages per day, and users can pay for more expensive plans that eliminate the device limits and increase the cap on the number of messages sent through IoT hub.

Azure IoT Hub is a part of Microsoft's cloud IoT Suite, which (as the name implies) includes a set of tools designed to help companies manage their integrated devices. 

In addition to the software news, Microsoft also announced partnerships with Advantech, Dell, HPE and Libelium on the Azure Certified for IoT program, which lets manufacturers show that their IoT devices are able to easily integrate with Azure products like IoT hub.

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