RoadTest: AVNET Azure Sphere MT3620 Starter Kit
Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: None.
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Software requirements are high: Visual Studio 2019 and an Azure Cloud account is not something the average maker/hobbyist would be familiar with. Learning curve for Azure is high. Not compatible with Visual Studio Code (more popular with non-developers).
I am currently employed in Healthcare IT as a Programmer/Analyst. For the past 20 years, I've had duties ranging from Microsoft server admin, SQL database admin, web development and Unix/Linux server admin roles. I've obtained several Microsoft certifications. Also I've been exploring cloud computing the past 5 years with AWS and Google Cloud and now jumping into the Azure realm.
The original plan was to evaluate the process of connecting the Azure Sphere MT3620 to a Microsoft account. Predicting that the on-board sensors would be adequately tested by other Road Testers, my goal was to explore using other sensors with the MT3620 through the Grove connector.
The first steps were installing the required Visual Studio 2019. Even though it was stated VS 2017 was compatible, I was not successful with finding a way
to install that version. It appears that once a newer version is released, that is the preferred install. I was successful with getting the Azure Sphere SDK (software development kit)
installed. The SDK documentation seemed to be adequate, but geared towards advanced developers. This is not a hobbyist project.
Even with the experience that I already have with cloud computing, maneuvering the Azure account was quite frankly overwhelming. Again, emphasis on this is not a hobbyist project.
I spent several hours trying to initialize and connect the board to a Microsoft Azure account. Those adventures were documented in my personal blog here on element14.
After claiming the MT3620 to the account and installing the registration application, I pinged the server daily for the next 20 days. Meanwhile, I watched the available webinars
on the use and configuration of the Azure Sphere MT3620. I searched for and read several tutorials for the MT3620. An advanced tutorial did cover attaching an OLED screen, which I was successful with. At this point, making progress
started to become difficult. Beyond the on-board sensors, I was not successful with finding much documentation or tutorials for using the Grove connector and the associated
Grove sensors. Even though I've yet to accomplish my original goal, time for the Road Test has expired.
A very well designed and thought out board for advanced IoT projects. The process of claiming the board and tightly linking the microprocessor to one and only one account does appear to
meet the goals of a secure IoT device. However, until more enthusiasts and developers get additional tutorials out for consumption, I would not recommend this board for a casual user.
It is an ambitious effort and does have great potential.