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Posted By Partha SrinivasanProduct Manager, Windows Embedded Server and SQL Products
In my last blog, I covered how Windows Embedded Server-based server appliances are used in the retail industry as in-store servers to generate business intelligence; in this blog, we will see how server appliances are used in the manufacturing industry, specifically in industrial automation, in roles such as historian servers, and application controllers that can improve productivity, asset utilization and operational efficiencies.
With historian server appliances based on the Windows Embedded Server platform, industrial manufacturing plants can gain valuable information by connecting and analyzing historical and ongoing process data generated from the plant. Both archiving and plant-wide accessing in real-time enable rapid decision making based on assured data – producing greater productivity and lower costs, thanks to improved business intelligence. The meaningful consolidation and aggregation of data into valuable information can enable dynamic reporting, such as downtime reports, alarm summaries for maintenance purposes, consumption data and energy balances, and efficiency reports of the different production lines. Combined with Microsoft SQL Server, database management systems provide a reliable and protected database platform for historian server appliances.
Comments Product Updates
Today Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems becomes generally available.
We think this is going to become the product for purpose-built, next-generation, enterprise class server appliances. With this edition, enterprises and OEMs now have a lot more capabilities and a host of improvements they can leverage to enhance performance, save space and ensure nearly constant uptime.
For one thing, we’ve substantially improved the product’s virtualization capabilities. This is good news for OEMs in particular, who have been utilizing virtualization to consolidate the physical architecture of their solutions and improve the ROI of their products.
R2 also features a host of upgrades designed to improve performance in a day-to-day, real-world way. The time it takes to complete a live migration has been cut in half. We’ve increased data transfer rates to 10 gigabits per second, greatly enhancing speed. We’ve also added support for USB access in guess VMs, making it easier to perform software deployment and file management. These improvements will enable OEMs to offer better products to support real world scenarios where optimized load balancing and live migration are critical.
The combination of those two areas means that not only can you run a smaller number of server appliances, but you can do so at a higher capacity. This should result in some really interesting scenarios for operating high-performance solutions in reduced-space environments. Already we’ve seen our customer Lufthansa Systems develop a small-footprint server appliance for use in airplanes, to facilitate in-flight entertainment.
Comments Intelligent Systems
Posted By Myriam Semery Windows Embedded BG Lead
The 14th International Scala Conference took place in Amsterdam recently, and I was invited to present Microsoft’s vision around intelligent systems to a panel of retailers from across Europe. My focus was on how intelligent systems enable a connected customer experience; specifically, how digital signage reinforces the brand and can be adjusted based on season, day of week, or time of day to more effectively attract target audiences in retail. But I also emphasized how competitive retailers need to turn challenges created by the “always connected” (or digital) shopper into opportunities to engage with customers and win their loyalty.
Outlining Microsoft’s vision for intelligent systems, in Amsterdam
The digital customer wants to seamlessly shop and purchase anytime, anywhere, using the device of his or her choice. Today’s “always connected” customer demands instant access to information, and that challenges retailers to deliver experiences that not only reflect the personal preference of each buyer but that execute seamlessly across all devices and channels, in a way that is engaging and brand-enhancing—and that ultimately drives repeat business. Because the store plays a central and diversifying role in any omni-channel strategy, it must be efficiently connected to enterprise systems for first-rate customer service.
Posted By Steve DunbarWindows Embedded Lead, Northern Europe
Last month at the Retail Week Technology Summit in London, I presented the Connected Fitting Room concept (along with Microsoft’s partner, Accenture) to the top decision-makers in the retail sector.
We discussed how the Internet of Things is being realized through intelligent systems such as the Connected Fitting Room, and how solutions such as this bring huge benefits for both the customer and the retailer alike.
OEM manufacturers use Windows Server for Embedded Systems to build server appliances —preinstalled hardware and software combined with the operating system — which make the configuration, deployment and management of industry devices simpler and faster. These server appliances are used in a number of industry devices, such as PACS machines in hospitals, store servers in retail stores and historian servers in manufacturing plants, and are a key enabler in developing intelligent systems architectures. In the coming weeks, I’ll be blogging about how the use of these server appliances adds tremendous value to enterprises in all of the major industries; in this blog, we will see how server appliances generate business intelligence when used in the retail industry as in-store servers.
To survive and thrive in an ultracompetitive business environment, retail companies need to create and deliver a differentiated customer experience, and maintain it consistently across all touch points. With so many aspects of the customer experience now enabled, driven and aided by technology, there are new opportunities for retail companies to effectively extend their brand across multiple remote locations. Retailers work towards building store systems that scalable, modular and purpose-built, and optimized to connect with their headquarters IT systems to be able to pull data in real time. And they look for cost-effective, high-performance solutions that generate reports that include actionable data to enable better business decisions, as well as better customer service.