Azure IoT Central and Wife proximity detector

For the last 1,5 years now I’ve been working from home. While it has been a blessing and I’ve had more time to focus and spend time with our new four-legged friend. There has been one disadvantage, however…My home office is in the basement, and our coffee machine is upstairs and every time I go upstairs to get a new cup of coffee, I forget to bring my old cup. So, what happens? I bring a new cup each time…ending up with something like this on my desk

NOTE: Not my actual desk, but could have been…

Once the number of cups gets to a point where I can’t see my keyboard, I then start cleaning away. Now in most cases, I tend to get this mess cleaned before my wife gets home. Let’s just say that she is not impressed with the number of cups that I can stack on top of each other on my desk…

Anyhow, I decided to do something about it, and that did not mean starting to clean up after myself (I’m a creature of habit so those are hard to change) therefore I needed a way to make sure that I’ve cleaned up before she gets home and sees the mountain of cups.

Therefore, I decided to dig into Azure IoT Central to see if using IoT I could be “alerted” before she got home.

IoT Central in Azure is a SaaS-based IoT service, which provides simplified management and onboarding experience of IoT devices. It hides away the complexity of the other IoT services in Azure. When you setup IoT Central, Microsoft will provision an IoT hub in the background and provide you with a simple management UI.

The management UI for IoT Central

As part of IoT Central, Microsoft also introduced a new feature called Plug-and-play, which allows us to easily connect devices such as mobile devices without the need to write custom software/firmware to be able to interact with the IoT services in Azure (Introduction to IoT Plug and Play | Microsoft Docs) and Microsoft recently released mobile apps for Android and IoS as well –> General availability: Turn your phone into an IoT device with the new IoT Plug and Play mobile app | Azure updates | Microsoft Azure

This means that I can use a mobile device to collect telemetry data about location, it can even be used to send remote commands to the device, pretty neat!

Glimpse of the IoT PnP app 

But the intention was simple I needed to collect telemetry data from the device. Therefore, I tested with my own device using the built-in registration service in IoT Central, where I created a new device group and registered using the IoT App using the QR Code

Under Raw data I saw that telemetry data was being uploaded.

Now that I have the data I needed I then needed to create some rules based upon the data. Within IoT Central, you can create rules based upon the data. As an example, I can use the latitude telemetry data. So, when the latitude is lower than a certain value it can trigger an alert.

So, when the device is then changing latitude, I can then trigger an action. With IoT Central, I can use some different actions

As an example, I’m going to use Logic Apps (which I already have predefined) as an example.

This provides me with an effortless way to get notified on Slack/Teams when the target is moving.

So, what did I end up with? The issue was that the IoT P&P app is required to always run to be able to upload telemetry. Therefore, it is no way that I would be able to collect that data to get information about when she is coming home from work.

And just to be clear, there is absolutely no way that I would set up this type of monitoring/service, but the intention was just to showcase an intro to IoT central and some of the capabilities. So, remember to look at this article with a good dose of humor 🙂











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