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Posted By Barb EdsonGeneral Manager, Marketing and Business Development
The past twelve months have been some of our busiest yet here at Windows Embedded. As we make plans for the year ahead, we reflect on the tremendous changes of 2013.
The year just passing was one of marked momentum for our industry—especially in the public discourse. Seems everywhere you looked in 2013, stories about the Internet of Things (the IoT)—its vast promise for revolutionizing industry, potential pitfalls, and even a few wild-eyed predictions—garnered significant ink. From mainstream business publications, such as BusinessWorld and Forbes, to industry magazines such as Manufacturing.net, Telecom Engine and Fierce Mobile IT, the Iot and its real-life application counterpart, machine-to-machine learning (M2M), are taking top billing in everyone’s “top trends” predictions for 2014. Over the past year, my colleague Kevin Dallas has been remarking on the growing interest in the topic, from a discussion about the imperative for businesses to embrace the technology, to the greater implications of the IoT’s impact on sectors of the U.S. economy.
At Microsoft, we’ve kept pace with the exploding interest in IoT, releasing numerous products throughout the year that enable the creation of ever-more powerful and elegant devices—the “things” that create the real value of the Internet of Things. Our preview for the Windows Embedded 8 family of products in January and their general availability in March were followed by a milestone for our business; for the first time ever, we aligned our release timeline with Windows, releasing Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry in the fall. This new alignment marked a significant shift in our product-release strategy; we could hear developers and OEMs around the world celebrating from here in Redmond.
Midway through 2013, we marked the release of Windows Embedded Compact 2013, our agile platform for creating small-footprint industry devices. Rounding out a very busy year for our engineers, November saw the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems, adding powerful new capabilities to the datacenter of any end-to-end intelligent system solution. Windows Embedded 8 Handheld also joined the Windows Embedded family this past year.
As the drumbeat of public interest in the theoretical IoT accelerated exponentially, we at Microsoft focused on bringing to light the real-world, measureable impact of connected systems, telling stories of industry-changing applications that are creating real value right now, saving time and money, and transforming customer service, employee engagement and business intelligence. In July, I shared my enthusiasm for Autolib’—a Paris-based intelligent car-sharing system that’s reducing pollution, congestion and commute times for thousands of people. We also told you how China Minsheng Bank Corp. innovated a vast, connected ATM-banking system. And if you have any lingering doubts about the power of intelligent systems to change lives, look no further than Great River Medical Center and Omnicell; their ingenious solution means medication reaches patients much more quickly. A German hospital, Siloah St. Trudpert Klinikum, used our technologies to innovate an intelligent operating theater for better patient care and physician training.
Windows Embedded also made strides this year in making our IoT technology even more accessible to enterprises by releasing a new volume licensing program; the new plan allows enterprises first-ever direct access to Windows Embedded technologies. We put even more muscle behind our support of our large, active and very vocal partner ecosystem by announcing the pending overhaul of our partner program, providing greater benefits—and a new Intelligent Systems Competency—under the Microsoft Partner Network umbrella. Stay tuned for more news on that in the weeks ahead.
Though our successes of the past year have been many, we have no intention of slowing down; our extraordinary team continues to push the frontier of what’s possible when enterprises tap into the Internet of Things. The coming year will truly be one for the books—backed by the integrated strength of One Microsoft, Windows Embedded is poised for an exciting 2014. I’ll have much more about that in the months ahead.
Happy New Year to you from the entire Windows Embedded team.