Putting Windows 7 Technologies to Work in Specialized Devices

Since the launch of Windows 7 late last year, we’ve been thrilled by its success and the overwhelming response. Windows 7 is a great example of how Microsoft continues to evolve our platform with emerging technologies and leading innovations, creating partner opportunities that capitalize on new markets and maximize profits. We continue to see strong momentum with commercial customers and consumers alike.

Building on the strength of Windows for PCs and Windows for phones, we are upgrading our entire portfolio of platforms and technologies for the embedded market with Windows 7 technologies to better serve our partners and customers in the embedded space.

Through Windows Embedded, we provide high-performance and reliable platforms that help OEMs deliver specialized devices with rich user experiences and seamless connections to the world of Windows. These embedded technologies fill the gap between phones and PCs for a world of specialized commercial devices, such as thin clients and industrial controllers, as well as consumer Internet devices (CIDs) and other emerging categories for consumers. This dynamic market is expected to reach more than 16 billion embedded devices this year and exceed 40 billion by 2020, according to Artemis Embedded Computing Initiative.

When companies deploy Windows Embedded, their specialized devices create efficiencies not only by being easier to use, but through their inherent connectivity to existing enterprise infrastructures. With the additional connectivity and support for Windows-based PCs, servers and online services, IT professionals can help their enterprises ensure streamlined deployment, management and maintenance of their broad ecosystem of devices, which clearly drive efficiency and boost an organization’s bottom line. 

Today we are seeing tremendous demand from the market following the initial rollout of Windows Embedded’s Windows 7-based platforms and technologies, including the Windows Embedded Standard 7 release candidate (RC). Downloads of the recent RC are 33 percent higher globally than the Windows Embedded Standard 2009 beta. Developers can use the same skills and tools they’ve already established with Windows 7 and Visual Studio to tap into this potentially huge new market.

Moreover, the global ecosystem of Windows Embedded partners currently totals more than 500 and continues to grow. As part of the recent Windows Embedded Partner Program (WEPP) 10-year anniversary, we added benefits that enable our partners to help OEMs reduce development time and associated costs as they bring innovative devices to market with Windows 7-based technologies. We look forward to seeing our partners’ continued innovation on the Windows platform to bring rich new experiences to customers.

We’re working closely with some early adopters of Windows Embedded Standard 7 and are excited about the phenomenal development it enables. For example, Siemens has teamed up with us to envision The Innovative Production Line, which uses the latest Windows Embedded Standard 7 technologies. With Siemens hardware devices running Windows Embedded operating systems, we recently demonstrated the vision for end-to-end enterprise connectivity through a proof of concept (POC) factory production line — from data collecting sensors and smart devices on factory floors to server-based business intelligence applications in IT datacenters. The potential benefits for manufacturers of this end-to-end Windows-based platform include process transparency from material ordering to goods delivery, constant production process optimization and increased overall factory productivity.

Another great example that demonstrates the benefits of a Windows-based platform is digital signage, where we’ve worked with Intel to deliver a platform for the retail and hospitality market. We’ve seen tremendous interest in the upcoming release of the platform since a POC digital signage device was unveiled at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention & Expo last January. I’m pleased to announce that it is now available for purchase by OEMs. The opportunities to enhance the retail experience are almost endless — only a few years ago, this type of device with multitouch, remote management, connectivity and other advanced functionality would have only been seen in science fiction movies. Now we’re helping OEMs bring these devices to market based on the power of Windows 7 and Windows Embedded.

Windows Embedded Standard 7 and our portfolio of Windows Embedded  technologies extend the power of Windows for commercial and consumer devices. We will continue fueling innovation in retail and hospitality, industrial automation, medical, and other markets by helping OEMs meet the needs of customers through better user experiences and seamless connectivity with the world of Windows. Stay tuned for some exciting developments during Computex Taipei in June concerning Windows 7 innovation for consumer devices.

Posted by Steve Guggenheimer
corporate vice president of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Division at Microsoft Corp.