In updating the road map for its Windows Embedded platform, Microsoft shows how it plans to tap into the Big Data opportunity created by a world of connected intelligent devices.
If information is power, then Microsoft
is looking at its Windows Embedded group to play a key role in making the
software giant a lot more powerful as the unit lays the foundation for a new
world of intelligent systems.
Microsoft is looking to be a major player
in the new world of the Internet of things. These "things" include
all kinds of embedded systems and devices instrumented with sensors that are
constantly drawing data from a variety of inputs. With Windows Embedded leading
the way as the operating system for these devices, Microsoft plans to get a
chunk of the opportunity afforded by the data explosion from the world of
devices. Not only is Microsoft planning to help enterprises retrieve data, but
also to analyze it, put it in the cloud, store it and monetize it.
Indeed, Microsoft's Windows Embedded
business has been laying the foundation for these intelligent
that can extend enterprise software and cloud services out to
everyday devices such as point
(POS) terminals, in-car
and even bar-top
According to Windows Embedded General Manager
Kevin Dallas, like so many other transformations in the technology world, the
move toward intelligent systems is all about information.
"Data has become the new currency,"
Dallas told eWEEK
"With today's pervasive network
connectivity, the emergence of cloud services and low-cost yet high-powered
microchips, traditional embedded devices can now connect and participate as
part of a broader IT infrastructure and exchange real-time data all the way to
the customer's fingertips," Dallas said in a statement. "Intelligent
systems offer endless possibilities for organizations to collect and act on
information in real time, from understanding customer buying habits to tracking
product shipments around the globe."
With so much potential, the opportunity
for developers is a big one. According
to analyst firm IDC
, the market for intelligent systems will grow
substantially in the next few years, from 800 million units today to more than
2.3 billion by 2015. Shipments of embedded devices already exceed cell phones
and PCs, and IDC predicts the market for intelligent systems will soon
represent a $520 billion industry.
"Advances in the technology for
devices, natural user interfaces and cloud are taking us to an era where our
customers are looking at these devices as data collection points," Dallas
That is causing Microsoft's role to
change from just providing operating systems for devices to providing software
and services for intelligent systems, as well as server and cloud software and
"Once that data is generated and
captured, it becomes a currency of its own," Dallas said in a statement. "Data
and insights are the fundamental benefits that organizations can realize from
an intelligent system, and whether it's in science, medicine or commerce, we're
only beginning to see what people can do with this technology."