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At NRF this week, Microsoft announced a strategic alliance with Intel to deliver a new validated platform optimized for the digital signage industry. For some time, the retail and hospitality markets have needed a more high performance and reliable platform for digital signage – this new platform will help OEMs create the next generation of digital signage applications featuring rich, connected and immersive user experiences through the Windows 7-based, Windows Embedded Standard 2011 operating system and 2010 Intel Core microarchitecture.

Here’s a quick look at some other highlights of the new platform:

· Rich immersive user experiences which includes panning and zoom, touch, and gesture input to dramatically improve Web browsing and the overall user experience OEMs can deliver out-of-the-box.

· Video analytics capabilities enabling advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns through the built-in camera technology which analyzes users’ physical attributes then generates tailored ad displays.

· Remote deployment and management capabilities minimize on-site maintenance, updates and repairs driving clear value-add through lower TCO.

· Power management through conditional UIs that react to the environment around them OEMs are able to create more green devices saving on energy costs.

Check out the full press release here.

At NRF, we showcased a proof-of-concept digital signage device built on this new platform in the Microsoft booth to demonstrate the future of how retailers will be able to reach consumers in a more personalized, interactive and compelling way. The device emulates a physical store, providing users with a multi-touch, 7-foot-6-inch holographic glass display where they can browse merchandise, receive promotions, submit feedback, read reviews from other customers, and connect with friends through social networking resources and mobile phone integration.

If you didn’t get a chance to check it out at this week’s show, you can also watch a video of the proof-of-concept on the Microsoft Retail virtual press room here. Other videos, including the advantages of the Windows Embedded platform for POS and kiosk devices, can be found on the team’s YouTube channel here.