Microsoft IoT Central is now in public preview, bringing IoT skills to more frontline workers with the help of low-code development, according to a Microsoft blog post. The scalable SaaS solution is built on Microsoft Azure and supports enterprise security, IoT best practices, and more.

With the new solution, Microsoft handles the infrastructure, allowing end users to focus on creating IoT solutions that can value to their organization. According to the post, “Microsoft IoT Central makes it so that everyone can benefit from IoT.”

Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub will act as the cloud gateway for Microsoft IoT Central, the post said. This allows users to securely connect, provision, and update devices, as well as send them commands. It can support millions of connected devices, the release said.

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Security is a major focus of Microsoft IoT Central, starting with authentication. “Each device uses its own security key to connect to the cloud in a secure way,” the post said.

In terms of device libraries, Microsoft IoT Central will support Azure IoT device SDKs in Node.js, C/C#, and Java. It also supports the MQTT 3.1.1, HTTP 1.1, and AMQP 1.0 protocols, the post said.

The low-code aspect of the solution begins with device creation. Within the Microsoft IoT Central Application Builder, users define the attributes of a given device by simply dragging and dropping from asset libraries, the post said. Device templates make the process faster and simpler. Here, users can also test an application through a simulated device.

Users can also define the measurements and properties of a device, along with how often they are collected. Microsoft IoT Central also relies on metadata to help with the provisioning and management of devices, the post said.

Using a rules engine, a user can define rules for their IoT device and a real-time analytics service will check relevant conditions and trigger an action if necessary, the post said. Based on conditions, devices can be grouped into smaller Device Sets that make them easier to manage.

Azure Time Series Insights is leveraged by Microsoft IoT Central to provide additional analytics and insights, and Azure Active Directory helps manage access privileges.

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The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Microsoft has officially announced the public preview of its Microsoft IoT Central SaaS solution, helping to improve IoT deployments for business users.
  2. Microsoft IoT Central uses low-code development to democratize the creation of IoT applications for business, speeding the development process.
  3. Microsoft IoT Central uses Azure Time Series Insights for analytics and insights and Azure Active Directory to manage access privileges.