The First Microsoft Azure IoT Hackathon

January 22, 2015

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On last Thursday we, CodeValue professionals, had the honor to be mentors for the first Microsoft Azure IoT Hackathon in Israel. It was an amazing experience; The Hackathon took place at IronSource headquarters in Tel-Aviv. We had a great atmosphere with music, food and drinks as well as plenty of IoT devices. Each participant could choose between Raspberry PI, Arduino YUN and Tessl devices. Each team could use one device or join as many devices as they want or need. The Hackathon was led by a team of professionals from Microsoft’s Technical Evangelism and Development (TED) group, a group dedicated to promote Azure technologies for IoT developers. Since most of the participants were new to IoT and new to Azure cloud, the team had created various labs, providing the information and code that needed to connect the IoT device to Azure backend services as well as code that demonstrates how to handle data on Azure. After a very short introduction session, the participants gathered in groups and received the devices. I found myself very busy explaining how to setup Arduino Yun and Raspberry PI, how to install the needed packages and how to connect to Azure services. About an hour before midnight, where the official development time is almost over, we have decided that we, CodeValue, also need to build a project. It was a team working fast, hard and in harmony. We had built an Azure mobile service backend, a Xamarin based mobile app, an Azure hosted Web management application, and a Raspberry PI program. We called it ValueGate. CodeValue guests and employees who want to access our office parking lot, can use this application. The application sends a message to a Web API hosted in an Azure web site, the Web API application decides whether to open the gate, according to predefined policy, or to send a push notification to our office manager’s mobile phone. She can see who wants to get in and decide if to approve or deny the access. Once the service is approved to open the gate, it uses Azure message bus and queue a message telling the IoT end device to open the gate. The device is connected through a relay to a remote control circuit. In the Hackathon we took my personal remote control key and hacked it to receive the signal from the IoT device. We also built an Azure based management web site to control the system and get a usage report. It is amazing what can be done today in one hour. See Dror’s post for more information and some pictures.

IronSource team has won first place, they have developed an application that assists finding a parking spot in Tel-Aviv.

I would like to give a special thanks Rachel Yehezkel, Microsoft Azure Technical Evangelist for giving us the opportunity to take part in this great event. The Hackathon is a symbol for the new Microsoft; use any open source system with Azure backend!


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