Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Microsoft improves Windows IoT for intelligent edge devices

Steve Rogerson
March 6, 2019
Microsoft has announced improvements to Windows IoT for intelligent edge devices. The added products and services should help device manufacturers, developers and users.
“At Microsoft, we’re focused on simplifying the IoT by making it easier to quickly build secure, smart devices that leverage the intelligent cloud while harnessing the full power of the intelligent edge, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics,” said David Lemson, director of programme management for Windows IoT.
Windows 10 IoT provides a family of operating systems for device builders to develop products, from compact low-power devices to servers and everything in between. This includes Windows 10 IoT Core for small-footprint, smart-edge devices and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, which brings the full power of Windows to IoT devices.
“We’re pleased to announce the release of Windows Server IoT 2019 to securely handle the largest edge workloads with fixed-function, server-class devices,” said Lemson.
With full binary compatibility to Windows Server 2019, device manufacturers can build server-class IoT edge devices that enable high-capacity storage and compute scenarios and seamlessly scale between cloud and the edge. For example, imagine network video recorders or high-end gateways, connecting thousands or even tens of thousands of sensors or devices, then storing, analysing and acting on these data streams in near real time with reduced latency and bandwidth consumption through using the power of the intelligent edge.
Added capabilities for Windows 10 IoT are oriented to making developers’ jobs easier:

  • Azure IoT Edge for Windows: Developers can bring cloud workloads to the edge so they can harness the full power of the Windows 10 IoT platform. They can scale IoT products across the cloud or edge with a managed service that delivers cloud intelligence locally by deploying and running AI, Azure services and custom logic directly on cross-platform IoT devices. Users benefit by deploying cloud applications and services on the edge, while ensuring they meet latency, bandwidth and data privacy requirements.
  • Azure IoT Device Agent for Windows: Users across industries, whether in an industrial setting or retail environment, are looking for ways to provision and manage their IoT devices remotely. Direct device access may not always be feasible when IoT devices are out in the field or on the factory floor. Azure IoT Device Agent enables operators to configure, monitor and manage their devices remotely from their Azure dashboard.
  • Robot Operating System for Windows IoT: Now developers can build and deploy a commercial-grade robot operating system (ROS) on Windows, making robots easier to develop, more aware of their surroundings and safer to be around. Bringing ROS to Windows IoT enables rich AI and intelligent edge capabilities, including hardware-accelerated Windows machine learning, computer vision, Azure cognitive services and turnkey connection to Azure IoT cloud services
“Microsoft has been a valued addition to the ROS-I Consortium,” says Matthew Robinson of the ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas. “Our membership has expressed significant interest in developments that will bring the advanced capabilities of ROS to industrial applications on the Windows platform and enable richer integration with other Microsoft tools that the consortium membership have come to leverage.”
Microsoft is continuing its partnership with Dutch electronics company NXP and is announcing a public preview for Windows 10 IoT Core with built-in Azure connectivity, running on NXP’s i.MX 8M and i.MX 8M Mini applications processors. The i.MX 8M processors can enable secure, power-optimised devices for the intelligent edge that give developers a choice of Linux or Windows IoT.
Developers can build intelligent devices using the Windows development environment and commercialise them using the Azure IoT platform as well as Azure cognitive services. In addition, NXP has worked with Microsoft to enable Azure IoT Edge on Linux for the i.MX 8M and i.MX 8M Mini. Azure IoT Edge lets users deploy and manage containerised cloud workloads running on i.MX8 devices from their Azure IoT dashboard.
“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Microsoft to bring Azure IoT Edge to our high-performance, multicore i.MX 8M applications processors platform,” said Geoff Lees, senior vice president of microcontrollers at NXP. “With this addition, NXP customers will have access to industry-leading edge computing, from i.MX 6 to i.MX 7 and i.MX 8/8M across Windows 10 IoT Core and Linux operating systems, for advanced industrial and IoT applications, harnessing the full power of Azure in their intelligent edge products.”
Microsoft’s partnership with Qualcomm and board providers lets developers harness the power of the Snapdragon family of processors with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. Users gain always-on connectivity and the power management capabilities of Snapdragon, with the full power of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.
“The combination of Qualcomm Technologies’ cutting-edge platforms and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise can enable always-connected, always-on intelligent edge devices to help companies of all sizes and industries deliver on the promise of IoT,” said Jeffery Torrance, vice president of Qualcomm Technologies. “We’re excited to support the work of companies like USI, with its SOM 850, and Thundercomm, with its TurboX AI Kit, as they bring their products to commercialisation.”