March Madness

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March Madness

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Posted By Werner Reuss
Windows Embedded Business Lead for Germany and Eastern Europe

No, I’m not talking about the college basketball tournament that is so popular in the U.S., I’m talking about the maddening number of events I have attended over the past few weeks. And while being on the road can be tiring, it’s really worth it to meet with customers and partners, and gauge the reaction to intelligent systems in real time.

The feedback about the intelligent systems concept and messaging remains unchanged. It resonates very well with partners and with customers. Events provide an opportunity to show something more tangible to drive broader awareness on embedded technology trends and how Microsoft can help enterprises capitalize on them.

My key takeaway from these events is that the market is changing…fast.

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The madness began at Embedded World, held in Nuremberg in late February. Unlike other tradeshows with waning attendance, Embedded World grew this year, to 22,547 visitors. Around 70% of the visitors came from Germany, the rest from various EMEA countries.

The audience for this tradeshow is primarily software and hardware developers. From the Microsoft perspective, we have a particularly big part of the CE/Compact community at the tradeshow. The theme of the show was “…it’s a smarter world,” which obviously fits in with our intelligent systems message.

The trade show released a first summary about the biggest trends during the event. They called out the trend they see towards ARM, the need in the market for higher integrated products (board + BSP), the need for quicker time to market and less focus on longevity, which impacts our partner ecosystems.

Overall, my impression is that the show is still very relevant for engagement with the “core” Embedded audience, both from a developer and partner side.

One hot topic at EuroCIS, held in Düsseldorf, was “low end” digital signage solutions. The scenario is rather simple. The devices get “assigned” to a particular product in the beginning. From that point on, any change to the price list can be directly pushed to the device. This type of intelligent system is very handy for keeping all prices used in the store – from the shelf to the POS System – consistent, making a lot of manual work redundant. And it enables scenarios in which a retailer can drive promotion across Internet and store offerings and react to competitor pricing, while always ensuring that the latest prices are consistently used.

Windows Embedded 8 and Windows 8 were also topics during EuroCIS. We had demo devices from Toshiba (based on Windows Embedded 8) and from HP (tablet device, using Windows 8).

 

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Both scenarios got a lot of attention from visitors. If you look at the picture to the left (Toshiba) you will notice that they used the Contoso kiosk example (a fictional company Microsoft created to showcase new technologies).

 

No March would be complete without a trip to Hannover for the world’s largest high-tech trade show, CeBIT. The trade show reported 285,000 visitors and 4,000 exhibitors for 2013. The show takes place in 26 large halls and getting from one end to the other packs quite a workout.

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Microsoft used “The Human Touch” as the major theme this year, addressing both consumer and IT audiences. The booth offered equally great content for both audiences. From a Windows Embedded perspective, we showcased a scenario by our partner Lufthansa Systems called BoardConnect (shown above). In my opinion, this is a really great intelligent system, as it lets passengers use the device of their choice, one that they are comfortable with. Airlines also benefit by saving time and money because the system is wireless. Lufthansa Systems estimates that a single Boeing 767 with 260 seats could save as much as 80 tons of fuel per year just by going wireless and eliminating more than 1,100 pounds of classic IFE hardware.

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