How Azure IoT helped me buy a new house – Part 1

Developer Support

Premier Developer Consultant, Steve St Jean, shares a personal story on how he used Azure IoT to figure out a solution to a problem that many of us face – high electric bills. In the series, Steve shares the process and code that he used to implement this solution.

Telemetry data is an important component of any good DevOps process. Being able to observe and capture the data from a running system opens up a lot of opportunity to improve the system. I had a simple problem at home that telemetry could help me solve. With this in mind, I over-engineered a solution to the question, “Why is my office always so hot?”.

The solution involved designing a sensor rig around an Espressif ESP8266 microcontroller development board running ESP8266 core for Arduino, a BME280 integrated environmental unit, and a simple photocell. The ESP8266 has built-in WiFi which I connected to my local WiFi network to send the temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and amount of light to Azure IoT hub. From there I configured Azure Stream Analytics to process the incoming data and send it to PowerBI for display and review.

After realizing that there was no impact on the temperature based on my presence or absence, that the a/c was never turning off, that we were paying the electric bill, and that this house was a rental so we had no ability to fix it, we decided to build a new, energy-efficient house in a new neighborhood. Now my office is quite comfortable and my electric bill is about half of what it was in the rental. IoT FTW

Read this blog post to understand Steve’s process and code used to implement this solution.


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