Azure Notification Hubs are push notification software engines designed to alert users about new content for a given site, service or app. Azure Notification Hubs are part of Microsoft Azure’s public cloud service offerings.
Azure Notification Hubs allow developers to take advantage of push notifications without having to deal with the back-end complexities of enabling push on their own. Localization templates simplify content delivery to different markets in different languages and with minor code adjustments, developers can target specific demographic groups or individuals. The flexibility that Azure Notification Hubs provides allow notifications to be scalable and reach millions of user devices without requiring re-architecting or sharding.
Common uses for using Azure Notification Hubs include:
- Alerting smartphone users about breaking news or dangerous weather conditions.
- Sending location-based coupons to opt-in subscribers.
- Pushing alerts in Safari to website subscribers about new site content.
- Providing users with one time authorization codes (OTACs) for multi-factor authentication (MFA).
Notification Hubs are compatible with many major platforms to enable reaching the greatest possible number of users. The hubs push notifications to most platforms including iOS, Android, Windows, or Kindle devices. They work with any back end, cloud or local, and are compatible with .NET, PHP, Java and Node.js.
According to Microsoft, Azure Notification Hubs currently offers a free push service for up to a million notifications a month and with some conditions, up to 100 namespaces and up to 500 active devices per namespace. The service offers greater numbers of notifications through expandable paid plans. The Basic plan starts at $10 for 10 million notifications to 100 namespaces, with up to 200,000 active devices per namespace and $1 per extra notification. The standard plan, which starts at $200/month, offers 10 million notifications to unlimited namespaces with up to 10,000,000 active devices per name space and $2.50 per additional notification.