Device Cloud Data to Azure and Data Back to Device Cloud

I’ve been doing a lot of browsing of the Particle Community, and also of other company’s Wi-Fi products (primarily Silicon Labs and Digi) in an attempt to understand the entire concept of devices in the field, Particle Device OS, Particle Device Cloud, and a commercial cloud service like Azure IoT Hub. Let me explain how I think these all work together, and I would appreciate it if you experts can weigh in on my understanding of all this.

Let’s say you have 100s of devices in the field spread over 100s of miles (so no Particle Mesh network), hence, all devices are based on Argon (or A series when it is eventually available). Assume the devices can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi hotspots or modems/routers. In fact the devices could be Borons and use LTE-M. Whether Wi-Fi or cell connection, that shouldn’t affect this discussion.

You use Particle Device OS to program the devices so that they can talk to Particle Device Cloud which can pass data in both directions. So field device data to Device Cloud, some processing, then data from Device Cloud to devices in the field.

Introducing Azure into the picture is where I start to get a little confused. Your data has been sent from your devices to Device Cloud, where you can then use Device Cloud to communicate with Azure to manage the database composed of this data from your deployed devices. But let’s say that after processing the data in Azure, you would like Azure to be able to send data back to Device Cloud which can then send this data to your devices in the field. But I have read some posts saying Azure can’t send data back to Device Cloud. And the Particle docs also show a one-way picture. This would seem to be a major issue. Shouldn’t there be some straightforward way to go from Azure to Device Cloud to field devices.

So that is my basic understanding of this particular system of non-meshed field devices and the cloud. Please comment regarding both my thoughts without Azure and then adding Azure. Thanks.

Apologies for limited reply - doing this on a phone.

Device OS is the operating system on the device which provides APIs (functions) that are called from application code. This is written using workbench or web IDE.

The big advantages of the Particle IOT platform are that it is a fully integrated solution with a much smaller learning curve than other approaches. There are some downsides but also plenty of upside!