Quickstart: Send telemetry from a device to an IoT hub and read the telemetry from the hub with a back-end application (C)

IoT Hub is an Azure service that enables you to ingest high volumes of telemetry from your IoT devices into the cloud for storage or processing. In this quickstart, you send telemetry from a simulated device application, through IoT Hub, to a back-end application for processing.

The quickstart uses a C sample application from the Azure IoT device SDK for C to send telemetry to an IoT hub. The Azure IoT device SDKs are written in ANSI C (C99) for portability and broad platform compatibility. Before running the sample code, you will create an IoT hub and register the simulated device with that hub.

This article written for Windows but you can complete this quickstart on Linux as well.

Open Azure Cloud Shell

Azure Cloud Shell is a free, interactive shell that you can use to run the steps in this article. Common Azure tools are preinstalled and configured in Cloud Shell for you to use with your account. Just select the Copy button to copy the code, paste it in Cloud Shell, and then press Enter to run it. There are a few ways to open Cloud Shell:

Select Try It in the upper-right corner of a code block. Cloud Shell in this article
Open Cloud Shell in your browser. https://shell.azure.com/bash
Select the Cloud Shell button on the menu in the upper-right corner of the Azure portal. Cloud Shell in the portal

If you don’t have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.


Prepare the development environment

For this quickstart, you will be using the Azure IoT device SDK for C.

You can use the SDK by installing the packages and libraries for the following environments:

  • Linux: apt-get packages are available for Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 using the following CPU architectures: amd64, arm64, armhf and i386. For more information, see Using apt-get to create a C device client project on Ubuntu.

  • mbed: For developers creating device applications on the mbed platform, we have published a library and samples that will get you started in minutes witH Azure IoT Hub. For more information, see Use the mbed library.

  • Arduino: If you are developing on Arduino, you can leverage the Azure IoT library available in the Arduino IDE library manager. For more information, see The Azure IoT Hub library for Arduino.

  • iOS: The IoT Hub Device SDK is available as CocoaPods for Mac and iOS device development. For more information, see iOS Samples for Microsoft Azure IoT.

However, in this quickstart, you will prepare a development environment used to clone and build the Azure IoT C SDK from GitHub. The SDK on GitHub includes the sample code used in this quickstart.

  1. Download the version 3.11.4 of the CMake build system. Verify the downloaded binary using the corresponding cryptographic hash value. The following example used Windows PowerShell to verify the cryptographic hash for version 3.11.4 of the x64 MSI distribution:

    PS C:\Downloads> $hash = get-filehash .\cmake-3.11.4-win64-x64.msi
    PS C:\Downloads> $hash.Hash -eq "56e3605b8e49cd446f3487da88fcc38cb9c3e9e99a20f5d4bd63e54b7a35f869"

    The following hash values for version 3.11.4 were listed on the CMake site at the time of this writing:

    6dab016a6b82082b8bcd0f4d1e53418d6372015dd983d29367b9153f1a376435  cmake-3.11.4-Linux-x86_64.tar.gz
    72b3b82b6d2c2f3a375c0d2799c01819df8669dc55694c8b8daaf6232e873725  cmake-3.11.4-win32-x86.msi
    56e3605b8e49cd446f3487da88fcc38cb9c3e9e99a20f5d4bd63e54b7a35f869  cmake-3.11.4-win64-x64.msi

    It is important that the Visual Studio prerequisites (Visual Studio and the 'Desktop development with C++' workload) are installed on your machine, before starting the CMake installation. Once the prerequisites are in place, and the download is verified, install the CMake build system.

  2. Open a command prompt or Git Bash shell. Execute the following command to clone the Azure IoT C SDK GitHub repository:

    git clone https://github.com/Azure/azure-iot-sdk-c.git --recursive

    The size of this repository is currently around 220 MB. You should expect this operation to take several minutes to complete.

  3. Create a cmake subdirectory in the root directory of the git repository, and navigate to that folder.

    cd azure-iot-sdk-c
    mkdir cmake
    cd cmake
  4. Run the following command that builds a version of the SDK specific to your development client platform. A Visual Studio solution for the simulated device will be generated in the cmake directory.

    cmake ..

    If cmake does not find your C++ compiler, you might get build errors while running the above command. If that happens, try running this command in the Visual Studio command prompt.

    Once the build succeeds, the last few output lines will look similar to the following output:

    $ cmake ..
    -- Building for: Visual Studio 15 2017
    -- Selecting Windows SDK version 10.0.16299.0 to target Windows 10.0.17134.
    -- The C compiler identification is MSVC 19.12.25835.0
    -- The CXX compiler identification is MSVC 19.12.25835.0
    -- Configuring done
    -- Generating done
    -- Build files have been written to: E:/IoT Testing/azure-iot-sdk-c/cmake

Create an IoT hub

The first step is to use the Azure portal to create an IoT hub in your subscription. The IoT hub enables you to ingest high volumes of telemetry into the cloud from many devices. The hub then enables one or more back-end services running in the cloud to read and process that telemetry.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Select Create a resource > Internet of Things > IoT Hub.

    Select to install IoT Hub

  3. In the IoT hub pane, enter the following information for your IoT hub:

    • Subscription: Choose the subscription that you want to use to create this IoT hub.
    • Resource group: Create a resource group to contain the IoT hub or use an existing one. By putting all related resources in a group together, such as TestResources, you can manage them all together. For example, deleting the resource group deletes all resources contained in that group. For more information, see Use resource groups to manage your Azure resources.
    • Region: Select the closest location to your devices.
    • Name: Create a unique name for your IoT hub. If the name you enter is available, a green check mark appears.


    The IoT hub will be publicly discoverable as a DNS endpoint, so make sure to avoid any sensitive information while naming it.

    IoT Hub basics window

  4. Select Next: Size and scale to continue creating your IoT hub.

  5. Choose your Pricing and scale tier. For this article, select the F1 - Free tier if it's still available on your subscription. For more information, see the Pricing and scale tier.

    IoT Hub size and scale window

  6. Select Review + create.

  7. Review your IoT hub information, then click Create. Your IoT hub might take a few minutes to create. You can monitor the progress in the Notifications pane.

Register a device

A device must be registered with your IoT hub before it can connect. In this section, you will use the Azure CLI with the IoT extension to register a simulated device.

  1. Add the IoT Hub CLI extension and create the device identity. Replace {YourIoTHubName} with the name you chose for your IoT hub:

    az extension add --name azure-cli-iot-ext
    az iot hub device-identity create --hub-name {YourIoTHubName} --device-id MyCDevice

    If you choose a different name for your device, update the device name in the sample applications before you run them.

  2. Run the following command to get the device connection string for the device you just registered:

    az iot hub device-identity show-connection-string --hub-name {YourIoTHubName} --device-id MyCDevice --output table

    Make a note of the device connection string, which looks like Hostname=...=. You use this value later in the quickstart.

Send simulated telemetry

The simulated device application connects to a device-specific endpoint on your IoT hub and sends a string as simulated telemetry.

  1. Using a text editor, open the iothub_convenience_sample.c source file and review the sample code for sending telemetry. The file is located in the following location:

  2. Find the declaration of the connectionString constant:

    /* Paste in your device connection string  */
    static const char* connectionString = "[device connection string]";

    Replace the value of the connectionString constant with the device connection string you made a note of previously. Then save your changes to iothub_convenience_sample.c.

  3. In a terminal window, navigate to the iothub_convenience_sample project directory in the CMake directory that you created in the Azure IoT C SDK.

    cd /azure-iot-sdk-c/cmake/iothub_client/samples/iothub_convenience_sample
  4. Run CMake using the following command line to build the sample with your updated connectionString value:

    cmake --build . --target iothub_convenience_sample --config Debug
  5. In a command prompt, run the following command to run the simulated device application:


    The following screenshot shows the output as the simulated device application sends telemetry to the IoT hub:

    Run the simulated device

Read the telemetry from your hub

In this section, you will use the Azure CLI with the IoT extension to monitor the device messages that are sent by the simulated device.

  1. Using the Azure CLI, run the following command to connect and read messages from your IoT hub:

    az iot hub monitor-events --hub-name {YourIoTHubName} --output table

    Read the device messages using the Azure CLI

Clean up resources

If you will be continuing to the next recommended article, you can keep the resources you've already created and reuse them.

Otherwise, you can delete the Azure resources created in this article to avoid charges.


Deleting a resource group is irreversible. The resource group and all the resources contained in it are permanently deleted. Make sure that you do not accidentally delete the wrong resource group or resources. If you created the IoT Hub inside an existing resource group that contains resources you want to keep, only delete the IoT Hub resource itself instead of deleting the resource group.

To delete a resource group by name:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal and click Resource groups.

  2. In the Filter by name... textbox, type the name of the resource group containing your IoT Hub.

  3. To the right of your resource group in the result list, click ... then Delete resource group.


  4. You will be asked to confirm the deletion of the resource group. Type the name of your resource group again to confirm, and then click Delete. After a few moments, the resource group and all of its contained resources are deleted.

Next steps

In this quickstart, you've setup an IoT hub, registered a device, sent simulated telemetry to the hub using a C application, and read the telemetry from the hub using the Azure CLI.

To learn more about developing with the Azure IoT Hub C SDK, continue to the following How-to guide: