Go to Original Article
We are excited to announce the general availability of Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent V2. The Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent is an open-source, ready-to-build and package solution for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise and Windows 10 IoT Core operating systems that provides you with built-in capabilities to remotely provision, configure, monitor and manage your IoT devices.
When it comes to the widespread deployment of IoT devices, one of the key challenges is around remote manageability. IoT devices are deployed out in the field or on factory floors where direct device access is not always possible or practical. As an operator, you also want to ensure that you can deploy software and security updates across all the IoT devices in the field to protect and secure the data as well as the device.
The Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent has been in public preview since Jan 2019. If you were using our public preview version, we hope you found it useful and we are eager to know your feedback. With GA, you now have access to the following new features:
1) UWP Management Plugin and UWP bridge: You can now remotely manage your UWP app running on your devices using the UWP management plugin. The Device Agent now includes a UWP bridge which allows UWP applications to leverage a subset of the Device Agent capabilities such as TPM access and reboot.
2) Diagnostics and error reporting: Troubleshooting issues on your IoT devices is a lot easier with quick access to collect logs and error information from the device and upload them to Azure Storage.
3) Device Agent extensibility: Ready-to-use Visual Studio templates and Nugets make it easy for a device developer to create their own plugins and extend the Device Agent’s capabilities.
See the complete list of capabilities below for more information.
Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent capabilities
The Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent provides you with the following capabilities to support these scenarios:
Device provisioning: The Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent integrates with the Azure Device Provisioning Service (DPS) client SDK to automatically provision and create the Azure IoT Hub identities of the device using the Azure Device Provisioning Service. The Device Agent registers the device with the Azure IoT Hub, ensuring the identity assignment of the device and applications running on it. The Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent leverages Azure IoT Module twin such that each process that connects to the IoT Hub is associated to the same IoT Hub device. If your solution demands that you have a custom provisioning client, you can do so by downloading the Azure Device Provisioning Service device SDK and implementing your own provisioning service.
Manage cloud connectivity: Once the Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent establishes the connection with the IoT Hub, it continues to manage the Azure cloud connection and the renewal of the SAS token before it expires.
Remote device management: The Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent provides the following remote device management capabilities via built-in plugins:
Device info: Enables you to retrieve information like Device ID, manufacturer information, firmware version, etc.
Reboot: Enables you to remotely reboot the device or schedule a reboot.
Remote wipe: Enables you to wipe out all data on the device and restore the device to a clean state.
Factory reset: Enables you to apply a factory image on the device bringing it back to its original state.
Time management: Enables you to configure an NTP service and set the time zone on the device.
Windows Update management: Enables you to enforce OS update policies on the device.
Certificate management: Enables you to remotely install or uninstall certificates.
Windows telemetry management: Enables you to configure the level of telemetry that is being reported from the device.
Device Agent’s extensibility: As a device builder, you can write your own plugins which can interface with the Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent. The Device Agent makes it easy for you to build your own custom code by providing you with the following hooks:
Includes a plugin model to bridge platform components with the agent and consequently with IoT Hub. The plugin model enables discovery, initialization, error reporting and state aggregation. The model includes a Visual Studio template and Nugets, which help you to quickly create your own plugin while abstracting the communication between the Device Agent and your plugin.
When a handler has dependencies on other handlers, Azure IoT Device Agent can make sure that the dependencies are processed in the right order.
Handlers have a versioning model to prevent mismatches in twin schemas or mismatches between plugin versions and the Device Agent.
Remote UWP application management: As a solution operator you can now remotely deploy, update, remove, start, or stop UWP applications on your devices using the UWP management plugin. On Windows IoT Core, you can also designate an application to be the start-up application.
Device Agent plugin capabilities in UWP apps: UWP applications can also leverage the UWP bridge, which enables the UWP application to leverage a limited subset of the functionalities of the Device Agent such as retrieving DPS enrollment information from the TPM or accessing admin-privileged functionality such as reboot.
Diagnostics and error reporting: Errors and diagnostics logs are now easily accessible for troubleshooting purposes using the Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent.
Solution operators can now collect ETW logs on their IoT devices and upload them back to the cloud for inspection.
The error reports have been enhanced to now include details of the sub-system or the process where the error originally occurred helping users to better interpret error messages.
Check out the Quick Start for more information or download the code or exe from this GitHub repo.
As always, your feedback is very important to us! Please share your comments, questions, or concerns on our or comment below. We’re listening!
From tiny toys on supermarket shelves to building-sized material haulers, today’s robots come in all shapes and sizes. And thanks to a range of advancements in their components and technologies, they are also becoming more capable and cost effective.
Robots may be the ultimate intelligent edge device. A robot needs to observe the world using many sensors, and reason about what it has observed in order to develop a plan of action. It then needs to perform those actions quickly and safely, often with limited internet connectivity.
One of the most popular frameworks for building that complex functionality is the Robot Operating System (ROS) maintained by Open Robotics, a mature, open source robotics framework used worldwide for commercial and research applications. ROS’ interoperability, body of samples, and community make it valuable for building an automated solution.
Last fall at the ROSCon 2018 conference in Madrid, we announced an experimental release of ROS for Windows. Since then, we’ve been working with Open Robotics to build out support for ROS. This week at the Microsoft Build conference in Seattle, we are pleased to announce the culmination of those efforts: ROS is now generally available on Windows 10.
Windows 10 IoT Enterprise provides the full power of Windows 10, packaged to meet the needs of IoT and intelligent edge devices. It shares all the benefits of the worldwide Windows ecosystem—a rich device platform, world-class developer tools, integrated security, long-term support and a global partner network.
“We’re excited to add Windows IoT as a supported platform for ROS. The ROS developer community can now take advantage of a wide array features in Windows IoT, including hardware-accelerated machine learning, computer vision and cloud capabilities such as Azure Cognitive Services. I look forward to seeing the next generation of Windows IoT-supported ROS applications.” — Brian Gerkey, CEO of Open Robotics.
With support for ROS, the Windows platform now provides a fast, safe, smart and manageable foundation for robotics solutions that also allows developers to do more at the edge using machine learning capabilities and all the scalability and power of Azure IoT:
Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services provides AI solutions that can infuse robots with intelligent algorithms to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret their environments using natural methods of communication.
The Microsoft ROS Node for Azure IoT Hub allows a system administrator to monitor the health of a robot and its tasks by monitoring specific message streams.
The Microsoft AI platform can act as the brain of the robot, with inferencing capabilities that work across any hardware platform. Using the industry standard ONNX model format trained locally or in the cloud, developers can accelerate machine learning at the edge—meaning the robot can run the models itself without consuming expensive bandwidth transmitting images to the cloud.
These capabilities add to the thousands of behaviors, skills and drivers already developed by the ROS community that can be composed to create the mind of a robot. With the core of ROS enabled on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, many of these components can be made available to Windows with minimal effort.
Additionally, Microsoft will soon be adding functionality to a community-supported Visual Studio Code extension—adding support for Windows, debugging and visualization to enable easier development for ROS solutions.
I’m hosting a session at Build on Wednesday along with Principal Program Manager Lead James Coliz, so be sure to stop by if you want to learn more and see some of these technologies in action. To get started with ROS on Windows now, please visit http://aka.ms/ros.
And to learn more about what Microsoft is doing at Build this week when it comes to IoT, see Sam George’s roundup of all the goings-on.
SEATTLE — Matthew Bennett has one of the world’s most important ears, “More people will hear the sounds I design for Microsoft then will ever hear anything else I will ever compose or design, and that’s OK.”
As in billions of people … every day. Many times a day. A composer since he was 7, Matthew now makes the music of Microsoft. You know these sounds. The sound your Windows Computer makes when you logon, the notification sounds when you get an email or a text. He created those sounds.
From his soundproof, floating studio in Redmond, he carefully crafts the “surround sound” of life.
“It blows my mind so I can’t think about it too directly. But we do take the responsibility very seriously.”
Microsoft composer Matthew Bennett shows us his process from his Redmond studio.
He was part of the Windows 7 team, and has pioneered the new approach of Windows 10, “The old sounds are very designed to be heard, and to capture your attention. These are designed to be felt and not really to be consciously heard.”
He basks in the subtleties of sound like a “new email” alert, “It’s designed to sit in the background because most people don’t want to feel like there’s an emergency when they get an email dozens of times a day.”
The sound you hear when a text message arrives is purposefully different. “Our messaging sound is designed to pull you forward a little bit, a little more alert, a little more energetic because it’s if it’s an IM or text, you want to know that.”
The calendar reminder will always be controversial, “Some people have told me that no matter how beautiful the sound is, it makes them feel like they’re responding to a fire alarm all day, and I can’t fix people’s lives and their next appointment, but I can try to design a sound that alerts them in a beautiful way.”
Microsoft composer Matthew Bennett has created sounds that billions of people hear every day.
As an ethnomusicologist, he studied how music affects culture at the University of Washington. His background is in psychology, “We try not to provoke people’s startle response.”
These are not trivial tones to his ear, “I don’t think people realize how much the sounds, even the quiet sounds around us, affect our emotional experience.”
We don’t even realize how much sound is a part of our everyday lives, “There isn’t a moment in our lives when we’re not surrounded by sound. That includes before we are born.”
When he’s surrounded by his own work, he still gets a thrill, “It’s awesome. I love walking around and hearing sounds I created in real life because it’s a great opportunity to see what they feel like in real life.”
Go to Original Article
Author: Microsoft News Center
Microsoft AI will dominate the Build conference next week, with a focus on emerging technologies, such as blockchain, machine learning and IoT, in a clear indication of how its pitch to developers has broadened and morphed with the times.
There are more than 1.3 million developers now using its Azure Cognitive Services for AI and machine learning, said Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s head of communications, in a virtual press conference prior to Build.
Microsoft plans to give a preview of Personalizer, which uses reinforcement learning techniques to train models on how to personalize content for users. Shaw didn’t elaborate, but this appears to be a successor or evolution of Custom Decision Service, which has been in preview for some time.
In addition, Microsoft will roll out two new Cognitive Vision Services: Ink Recognition, for handwriting analysis, and Form Recognizer, which can extract text, key values and other data types from documents.
Microsoft also intends to showcase its direction for digital assistants. A new QnA Maker service is geared for creating multiturn dialogues that are more complex and humanlike, Shaw said.
Other Microsoft AI-related updates set for discussion include a zero-code model creator that uses a drag-and-drop interface, as well as a push into MLOps. The latter is Microsoft’s bid to improve machine learning model debugging, continuous delivery and model quality using concepts from DevOps.
The goal is “to help put the work of data scientists into production at scale,” Shaw said.
On the data management front, Microsoft plans to offer a private preview of Azure SQL Database Edge. This will complement its existing support for AI-related workloads at the edge with the ability to run on ARM-based devices. Azure SQL Database Edge will also offer support for time-series data — information stamped with a specific time as it is collected — which is germane to IoT scenarios.
In other IoT developer news, Microsoft will roll out IoT Plug and Play, a modeling language for connecting IoT devices to the cloud quickly. This will provide an abstraction layer that mitigates the challenge of writing code specifically to each type of connected device.
Finally, Microsoft will preview its Azure Blockchain Service, along with related developer tools. These can simplify the creation of blockchain networks, including with extensions for Visual Studio Code and Logic Apps, Shaw said.
Build agenda reflects shifting developer tastes
More Build news will be revealed during keynotes by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and other executives on May 6. But for a developer-oriented conference, core Microsoft tools, such as the Visual Studio IDE, won’t be in the brightest spotlight, and there are reasons for that.
Jeffrey HammondAnalyst, Forrester Research
“There are a couple things going on here,” said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Developers still are very much interested in and use Microsoft tools, but the way they’re doing it is changing.”
In fact, Visual Studio Code, the lightweight, cross-platform code editor it released a few years ago, will soon overtake Visual Studio as Microsoft’s No. 1 integrated development environment, Hammond said.
Second, Azure DevOps — formerly known as Visual Studio Team Foundation Server — and online services such as Azure Pipelines are in a transition phase due to the continuing integration of GitHub, the wildly popular, open source software repository and version control system, which Microsoft bought last year for $7.5 billion. That move raised eyebrows among some adherents, even in light of Microsoft’s embrace of open source under Nadella’s leadership.
To that end, Microsoft is likely saving some announcements that bridge GitHub and its core development tools for GitHub’s own event, which is set for later in May, Hammond speculated. “Microsoft is very cautious about mingling the communities at this point,” Hammond said.
Go to Original Article