Push your Sigfox devices data to Azure IoT Hub

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You connected numerous devices to the Sigfox low cost, low power, long range Internet of Things network and looking for a solution to transform all the collected data into precious information?

Microsoft hyperscale cloud solution aka Azure provide an awesome component chain for IoT. All the bricks are there. Ingestion, hot and cold storage, near real time analytic, batch, machine learning, business intelligence. Open source or not. Easy to setup PaaS or 100% mastered IaaS. You will surely find a solution to fit your needs.

How easy is it to connect the Sigfox backend to Azure?

Thanks to the smart engineers at Sigfox, they just introduced a connector dedicated to IoT Hub, the Azure ingestion component.

Goto the Sigfox backend. Portal release 5.1 mentions the new connector. Enter the device type section.

sigfox-portal-news

Sigfox device are grouped by “type” so you can manage common properties shared by a group of devices. Click a device type name to get the detail.

sigfox-portal-devicetype-list

On the device type detail page, you’ll get access to the callbacks. Callbacks are a way to do something when new messages are received by the back-end.

sigfox-portal-devicetype

We have no callback at that time. Let’s create a new one.

sigfox-portal-devicetype-callbacks

That’s where the “magic” happen. You actually have 3 different choices:

Select the last one.

sigfox-portal-devicetype-new-callback

Only two fields to fill.

Connection string: Just copy/paste the built-in “iothubowner” shared access policy of your IoT Hub. Check this tutorial for details.

JSON body: you can use this full featured one and customize it as needed. The most important pieces are the device identifier and the message data, respectively “device” and “data”.

{
"device" : "{device}",
"data" : "{data}",
"time" : {time},
"duplicate" : {duplicate},
"snr" : {snr},
"station" : "{station}",
"avgSignal" : {avgSnr},
"lat" : {lat},
"lng" : {lng},
"rssi" : {rssi},
"seqNumber" : {seqNumber}
}

Click “Ok” and you’re done!

sigfox-portal-devicetype-callback-iothub

Does it really work?

It only took you one minute to setup. You data are now going from your devices to Azure IoT Hub, through the Sigfox network. Let’s take some time to check what happened under the hood.

We’re going to use the open source Azure IoT Hub Explorer. It’s a NodeJS app. Installing NodeJS is a no brainer. Then install the app package using NPM command inside a your favorite shell

npm install iothub-explorer@latest

install-iothub-explorer

If you launch iothub-explorer without parameter, you get all the possibilities of this tool.

iothub-explorer-help

Use the login command with the same connection string you used in the Sigfox backend connector and the list command to get the list of your IoT Hub registered devices.

Each time a new device associated with the device type will emit a new message, the Sigfox backend will ensure that it is provisioned in IoT Hub before pushing the message.

iothub-explorer-list-devices

You can use the monitor-events command to listen to all messages sent by a specific device.

iothub-explorer-monitor-events

What’s next?

Just few minutes to connect the dots. You can continue to deploy as much device as you need as this solution will scale without effort. It’s time to bring more value to your solution.

Add an Azure Stream Analytics to get some near real-time analytics and create a jaw dropping visual dashboard with PowerBI. Why not taking your solution to the next level with some Machine Learning experiment for predictive maintenance 😉

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  • Vincent Thavonekham-Pro

    Thanks, for sharing!! With over millions of devices talking to MS Azure IoT Hub, via Sigfox, we have to explore various IoT architectures and try them out. Yet taking into account the Time To Market in this competitive world. Now our roadmap is crystal clear ! V

    • Thanks Vincent. There’s more to come. Feel free to share 😉

    • Valdy Valdy

      Hi Vincent. We are exploring this IoT technology via SigFox. In regards to your project, do you guys build your own application portal in Azure OR do you just integrate with third party one? I’m appreciated your feedback

      • Vincent Thavonekham-Pro

        Hi Valdy, I just saw your message 6 months later! By now our application is in Production and working as a charm. We did use custom code (ASP.Net core) that is deployed into Azure. It’s architecture is highly optimized to run at scale (similarly to micro-services). For this specific BigData/IoT project, we do not rely on other 1/3 parties applications.