Last year in February, Microsoft unveiled the next generation of its Windows Phone based on the Windows 7 operating system. Of course, we know now that Windows 7 has proven to be an exceptionally stable, friendly, and functional user experience and I think most would agree that the Windows Phone 7 has been similar in popularity for its ease of use and its application to productivity enhancement. Indeed, a reviewer on the Gizmodo technology news site gave Windows Phone 7 very high marks last month (Quote: The Next Windows Phone: It’s Pretty Great”) and InfoWorld last week covered the IDC prediction that Windows Phone 7 will make great leaps in adding market share by 2015 through its focus on the enterprise user.

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But don’t just take Gizmodo, IDC’s or my opinion about the emerging value of Phone 7 for those of us in the work-a-day business world. Consider the investments that our partners are making in Window Phone 7 applications as augmentations to their own solution suites. 

For instance, consider a recent video from our partner Iconics that portrays how they are using Phone 7 to enhance their enterprise applications, particularly those with utilities industry focus for energy and water management. That focus on delivering productivity gains at every level of the enterprise value chain is, of course, where Microsoft and its partner ecosystem shine, as IDC states. The Iconics video clearly demonstrates this dynamic and is but one of many such announcements that our partners will be making in coming months.

In the Iconics video, you’ll see a nice presentation on how Iconics’ MobileHMI (Mobile Human Machine Interface) is designed to help Iconics’ clients connect their mobile workforce with the manufacturing and process control systems they help operate and automate with their SCADA and energy management solutions.

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The Iconics MobileHMI gives Phone 7 users access to information 24/7 for their monitoring of enterprise performance, whatever that might be in utilities sectors. The video also demonstrates how Windows Phone 7 allows them to create real-time visualization graphics, grids, trends and charts, so that anyone anywhere on the Iconics software suites can view any operation. The mobile software provides users with visual performance indicators that are useful for facility and process management, allowing operators and maintenance personnel to take the actions they need to prevent failures or correct and optimize other situations.

One underlying message in the video is how Microsoft’s suite of developer tools has helped Iconics, as a Gold-certified partner, to really jumpstart the integration of its industry leading applications for process management and automation with the tremendous tool known as the smart phone. In fact, as announced in May, we are already on our next release of a Phone operating system, code named “Mango,” which will allow developers to add hundreds of new features for smarter, easier communications, apps, and Internet experiences. 

You should know that Iconics is but one example of Windows Phone 7 uptake by our utility industry software vendor partners. In coming months there is a large pipeline of announcements coming from other partners and we look forward to bringing those to you as well. Stay tuned! – Jon C. Arnold