There are certainly lots of different boards that can be used for building and prototyping Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. I’ve posted a few times about the MXChip Azure IoT DevKit as great prototyping board. Recently, I can across a new board that looks very similar and looks like a great option for both learning and prototyping as well. This new board is the ESP32-Azure IoT Kit Development Board from Espressif. This board features a number of components built-in; including Wifi, Bluetooth, sensors, display, and expansion board.

ESP-Azure IoT Kit Development Board

The ESP32-Azure IoT Kit development board has the following features:

  • Multiple wireless protocols (Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy)
  • Wifi SoftAP / Station mode
  • Network configuration via BLE or SmartConfig
  • Low-power sleep and wake-up modes
  • Serial port-to-USB bridge
  • Multiple sensors (motion, light, magnetometer, barometer, hygrometer)
  • Integrated OLED display and buzzer
  • Access to multiple cloud platforms

Here’s a view of what the physical board looks like:

ESP32-Azure IoT Kit Development Board from Espressif (ESP32-WROVER-B) 1

As you can see, this board design has some similarity to the Azure IoT DevKit from MXChip. I’m not familiar with the design decisions behind it, but the similarity is worth pointing out. You can see the integrated hardware is similar in features (buttons, display, sensors, etc) as well.

Here’s a diagram that shows the locations on the board of the various integrated hardware:

ESP32-Azure IoT Kit Board Layout Diagram
ESP32-Azure IoT Kit Board Layout

ESP32-WROVER-B Espressif SOC Platform

ESP32-WROVER-B from Expressif Systems is the underlying platform the ESP32-Azure IoT Kit development board is built on and is powered by the ESP32-D0WD embedded chip. This platform provides 4 MB Flash and 8 MB PSRAM including two low-power Xtensa 32-bit LX6 microprocessors with the following specifications:

  • 448 KB of ROM for booting and core functions
  • 520 KB of on-chip SRAM for data and instructions
  • 8 KB of SRAM in RTC for FAST Memory storage (accessed by main CPU during RTC Boot from deep-sleep mode)
  • 8 KB of SRAM in RTC for SLOW Memory (accessed by co-processor during deep-sleep mode)
  • 1 Kbit of eFuse (256 bits used for system / 768 bit reserved for customer applications, including flash-encryption and chip-ID)

The ESP32-WROVER-B platform also includes embedded Wifi, Bluetooth, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). You can read the full data sheet on the ESP32-WROVER-B to see what it all offers.

Developer SDK and Documentation

Espressif has a public GitHub repository where you can access the ESP Azure IoT SDK for programming the board. This repository has instructions on getting started with the board and a link to get access to a compiler and other resources for the ESP32 chip onboard.

Here’s the locations for the repositories:

Where to Purchase

There are a couple places the ESPS32-Azure IoT Kit development board from Espressif can be purchased. Here they are:

Happy prototyping your IoT solutions!

P.S. I haven’t gotten my hands on one of these boards yet, but I’m hoping I get to soon!

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect