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The future of Windows Embedded: from standalone devices to intelligent systems

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UpdatesKevin Dallas on intelligent systems [ YouTube Channel, March 28, 2012]

Kevin Dallas, GM for Windows Embedded at Microsoft, talks with Steve Clayton about the emergence of intelligent systems and Windows Embedded Standard 8 community technology preview.
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/embedded

– Feature: Intelligent Systems in Motion as Businesses Share Their Success Stories [Microsoft, March 28, 2012]
– Feature: Hillcrest Realizes Efficiency and Improved Data Access With Intelligent Systems [Microsoft, March 28, 2012]
–  Talking Intelligent Systems with Ford [Microsoft, March 29, 2012]
Next at Microsoft Blog: Microsoft’s Steve Clayton talks with Jim Buczkowski from Ford Motor Company about the car as a consumer electronics device.
–  Ford Rolls Out New 2013 Models, Featuring Improved MyFord Touch [Microsoft, March 29, 2012]
Test drive event provides first glimpse at new models and faster and easier-to-use infotainment system powered by Microsoft.
End of updates

imageVirtual footwear wall exhibited at NRF Expo 2012.
This had been deployed at Adidas Oxford Street in London. In two weeks, the London store sold as many shoes as three other stores did in six weeks.

Windows Embedded Standard 8 Community Technology Preview [Microsoft microsite, March 1, 2012]

Windows Embedded Standard 8 – Key Benefits [from the datasheet, Feb 29, 2012]

  • Create modern, fresh user experiences with Metro style applications and touch interactions from Windows 8.
  • Compete more efficiently by taking advantage of the scale provided by the Windows 8 hardware ecosystem.
  • Meet hardware bill-of-materials targets. Select the software components you need to create custom OS images for your devices.
  • Use the enhanced security and lockdown features to protect your device, data, and network.
  • Deliver extended mobility with new power management and wireless technologies in Windows 8 that keep your devices connected, no matter what they’re doing.
  • Deliver stunning Web experiences with HTML5 support in Internet Explorer 10.
  • The connectivity options you want, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile and USB 3.
  • Near-Field Communication support enables an entirely new, easy way to exchange data with users. The intuitive interface allows users to easily interact with tap-to-pay vending machines or download manuals from a service kiosk.

image

Building Intelligent Systems With Windows [Microsoft press release, March 6, 2012]

Windows Embedded Standard 8 community technology preview is the next step for enterprises and OEMs to harness the power of Windows for specialized devices running line-of-business applications

Over the past year, Microsoft has been discussing the vast possibilities offered by the emergence of a new category within the traditional embedded market —intelligent systems.

A critical component of Microsoft’s enterprise strategy, intelligent systems enable an unprecedented flow of data with the power to transform industries such as retail, manufacturing and medicine, by connecting devices where data is generated through employees and customers to back-end systems and services where it is translated into strategic insight to inform business decisions.

Last November, Microsoft outlined a product road map for its intelligent systems vision. As part of that plan, today Microsoft is making the Windows Embedded Standard 8 community technology preview (CTP) available on the x86 architecture.

With Windows Embedded, developers can use the same trusted tools used in building applications for Windows 8 to build specialized devices within line-of-business applications — extending the power of Windows 8 and the cloud to intelligent systems. Using the Windows Embedded platform, retailers can build smart digital signage and intelligent kiosks. Manufacturers can connect shop floor devices to back-end IT. In medicine, equipment for ultrasounds, x-rays and MRIscan deliver results directly to doctors at the bedside.

The Windows Embedded Standard 8 CTP is an important step in giving developers and enterprises an opportunity to evaluate Windows 8 technologies for connecting specialized devices to powerful back-end software. With the recent release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server 8 beta, along with this week’s launch of SQL Server 2012 and Windows Embedded Standard 8 CTP, Microsoft is offering a good look at a new, common set of technologies that spans specialized devices, servers, PCs and applications.

About Windows Embedded Standard 8

Windows Embedded Standard 8 is a componentized version of Windows 8that includes features designed to meet the needs of specialized devices within intelligent systems, such as these:

  • Advanced device lockdown through flexible keyboard filters and a new unified write filter that combines previous write filters into a single, streamlined solution for better management and enhanced uptime.
  • Support for customized experiences and branding from boot to shut down, so apps can take advantage of Windows with a customized look and feel from the first press of the power button.
  • Componentization of the OS to scale the system up or down depending on the device, including a set of modules that have been preconfigured and tested to enable device-specific scenarios.
  • IT pro management tools, including the Universal Configuration Tool (UCT) that provides for local and remote management, integrated into the security infrastructure.
  • OS development tools, including the new Module Designer that allows developers to easily integrate third-party software into the OS, including the ability to copy files, execute commands, install drivers and modify the registry.

With the release of this CTP, developers for specialized devices and intelligent systems now have access to all the key functionalityof Windows 8. Windows Embedded Standard 8 targets the specialized device world with all the native security improvements to the stack and core operating system components as Windows 8. Also, since it aligns with the new Metro app model, Windows Embedded Standard 8 will also allow developers to scale apps across types of specialized devices, customizing the interface for each type of device while maintaining their own proprietary branding and experience.

How to Get the CTP

Interested? Head over to the Windows Embedded Standard 8 download center and get started today. It is free, and the only limit is your imagination.

Intelligent Systems in the Inwindow Outdoor Experience Station [channelintel YouTube channell, Feb 9, 2012]

Outdoor advertising gets interactive with intelligent systems from Intel and Microsoft Kinect for Windows Embedded in Inwindow Outdoor Experience Stations. Until now, digital signage has been a one-way, passive encounter. Today, it is an interactive experience that places the viewer in the center of attention, such as a game or movie trailer. When people approach, Intel AIM Suite determines their gender and age bracket and subsequently plays personalized advertising based on the audience demographics. This allows advertisers to get the right message to the right people at the right time. Check out the system as it was shown at NRF 2012 in New York.

More information:

Brendan O’Meara, managing director for retail at Microsoft, provides a glimpse at some of the exciting products that are going to enable retailers to better engage their customers and operate more efficiently.
In partnership with Freescale and Kontron, Microsoft Windows Embedded, Microsoft HealthVault and the Microsoft Innovation Center in Torino, Italy developed a proof of concept (POC) intelligent system that delivers an end-to-end solution from specialized devices to the cloud in order to improve the home health management process.
Ben Smith, director of program management, Windows Embedded Division, describes opportunities based on an agile approach to intelligent systems.

Windows Embedded builds foundation for immersive experiences with Natural User Interface, helps customers harness data in new ways.

When Microsoft’s Windows Embedded group was formed in 1996, embedded technology was typically disconnected from company networks. Today, embedded devices not only talk to the network, in some cases they are the network; and the number of devices in existence is on a rapid increase. IDC Research predicts that by 2015 embedded CPUs will outnumber PC CPUs by six to one, and virtually all of them will be connected to the Internet, enabling a new kind of”intelligent system.”*

Under the direction of general manager Kevin Dallas, the Windows Embedded Business Group has mapped out a strategy for the move to intelligent systems, which includes how the company will work with hardware and software manufacturers to create specialized devices and solutions that help customers capture business intelligence.

A critical part of that plan is a shift in how Microsoft approaches product development.”In the past we generally built our software to enable rich experiences on the device and the ability to run the application on the device, and that’s where the task really stopped,” says Dallas.”In an intelligent system, these applications are distributed and aware of the system in which they run, and the cloud to which they’re connected.”

Dallas calls for partners to waste no time in thinking more about how to drive value for the data that these intelligent systems can capture. He calls this the”big shift” that the company, and the industry, is making.

“You see more and more customers really trying to move toward these connected, more immersive experiences. We’ve seen it in retail, we’ve seen it in banking, and aspects of it have also appeared in the automotive and logistics industries,” says Dallas.

A More Agile Approach


Creating an intelligent system begins with tight integration between devices and the back-end infrastructure. To achieve that, the development team is optimizing the next version of the Windows Embedded platform to process structured and unstructured data generated by an array of devices. They’re also working on technologies that allow for more customization and differentiation, with features for touch, gesture and speech control, and a new user interface.

And to fuse these elements into a more cohesive experience, Microsoft is using an agile software development methodology, which is best summed up by the following values, as established by the Agile Alliance:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

The primary goal of agile computing is to improve collaboration and communication between programmers and business experts, and help streamline the development process through more frequent delivery of code.

Heading up this effort is Ben Smith, director of Program Management for Windows Embedded. Smith recently transitioned from product development for Xbox 360 and Kinect, during which time he introduced agile methodologies.

“The entire Xbox 360 development team, including the hardware division, embraced the idea of speeding up our development process, and of building on the foundation as we progressed. As a result, we were able to design what is essentially an intelligent system,” says Smith.

After the launch of Kinect for Xbox, Dallas approached Smith to share his vision for intelligent systems and big data. To Smith, the opportunities were immediately apparent.

More Focus, Less Monolith


According to Smith, the power and complexity of tomorrow’s distributed computing, such as intelligent systems, will require a shift from less frequent, full-scale software upgrades, often the industry standard, to ones that are more frequent and incremental.

“The industry has reached a point where successful companies are those that can iterate the smartest and drive value in terms of the customer experience,” says Smith.

With that in mind, Microsoft has made the following specific changes:

  • Combining the development teams for each of the Windows Embedded solutions — Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded Enterprise, Windows Embedded Compact 7 — into one larger team focused on creating many products with a common platform
  • Adopting agile methodologies that help developers avoid last-minute feature cuts and respond to customer feedback with midstream course adjustments
  • Creating more focused and frequent code release cycles

Smith says”partners should expect releases that are more focused — less like a Swiss Army Knife with 47 different features and giant instruction manual, and more about specific scenarios that drive clear business and technical value.”

With this move to agile computing comes a heavy emphasis on feedback to help drive and inform the development process. As such, partners should expect to receive software releases earlier than they have in the past.

One of the main applications of embedded technology is to provide a stable system that will power machines for long periods of time with little or no need for IT support. That mindset remains as part of the agile development method.

Says Smith:”We’re counting on our partners to use and provide feedback on releases that will be much earlier than typical software beta releases. Through this collaboration, we’ll be able to release more polished final product in less time than ever before.”

* IDC, Worldwide Intelligent Systems 2011-2015 Forecast: The Next Big Opportunity, doc #230242, September 2011

Microsoft’s Road Map for Intelligent Systems [Nov 14, 2011]

For the past several months, Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Business has discussed the emergence of intelligent systems that can extend enterprise software and cloud services out to everyday devices. From the device to the cloud and back again, intelligent systems represent the intersection of technology and society by realizing the conceptual Internet of Things.

The opportunity is a big one, and under the direction of general manager Kevin Dallas, theWindows Embedded team has mapped out a strategy to help customers and partners make the most of it. Using new agile development methods, Windows Embedded delivers platforms and tools for hardware and software manufacturers to create intelligent systems that harness business intelligence in the enterprise.

Intelligent systems offer endless possibilities for organizations to collect and make use of information,” Dallas says, “from understanding customer buying habits to tracking product shipments around the globe.”

Integrating tightly with Windows 8, Windows Embedded will help drive the innovation in intelligent systems. As part of the discussion, Microsoft recently laid out its plans for the Windows Embedded Enterprise, Windows Embedded Standard and Windows Embedded Compact platforms. Some highlights:

  • Windows Embedded Enterprise v.Next will be available a quarter after Windows 8 is generally available for PCs
  • Windows Embedded Standard v.Next will undergo a community technology preview for developers during the first quarter of 2012, with general availability three quarters after Windows 8. It will support the ARM architecture and all of the management and security functionality provided by Windows 8.
  • Windows Embedded Compact v.Next will follow in the second half of 2012, introducing support for Visual Studio 2010.
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6 Comments

  1. […] készítettem egy gyüjteményes bejegyzést trendfigyelő blogomon:The future of Windows Embedded: from standalone devices to intelligent systems [March 9, 2012] Elküldve 2012. 03. 10. 09:28 by Nacsa Sándor Megtekintve: 0 alkalommal […]

  2. […] – Nokia under transition (as reported by the company) [Experiencing the Cloud, March 11, 2012] – The future of Windows Embedded: from standalone devices to intelligent systems [Experiencing the Cloud, March 9, 2012] – China-based second-tier and white-boxed handset makers […]

  3. […] 8 software architecture vs. that of Windows Phone 7, 7.5 and the upcoming 7.8 [June 22, 2012] – The future of Windows Embedded: from standalone devices to intelligent systems [March 9-29, 2012] from which I should strongly emphasize the roadmap part, especially with the […]

  4. […] Giving up the total OEM reliance strategy: the Microsoft Surface tablet [June 19 – July 30, 2012]- The future of Windows Embedded: from standalone devices to intelligent systems [March 9-29, 2012]- Steven Sinofsky, ex Microsoft: The victim of an extremely complex web of the […]

  5. […] & Intelligent Solutions [WindowsEmbedded YouTube channel, March 20, 2013] OR (as stemming from The future of Windows Embedded: from standalone devices to intelligent systems [this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog, March 9-29, 2012], note however that ARM architecture […]

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