During the keynote today at CEATEC Japan, Microsoft shared its strategy for how Windows for IoT helps device builders of all sizes create IoT solutions for customers with smart and secure IoT devices.
With a special focus at CEATAC on the evolution of smart cities, smart buildings and smart infrastructure under the “Society 5.0” framework, Windows for IoT delivers a scalable family of operating systems as the foundation for building intelligent edge devices. This family includes:
- Windows 10 IoT Core is built for small-footprint smart devices, while still offering the manageability and security expected from Windows, and along with Windows 10 IoT Core Services ensures long-term OS support and services for managing Over-the-Air (OTA) device updates and device health. Windows 10 IoT Core is being used is Hourfleet, a ride-sharing platform addressing urban mobility challenges faced by many cities, towns, and communities. The Hourfleet platform is a globally deployable product underpinned by Windows 10 IoT Core and Azure IoT.
- Windows 10 IoT Enterprise is a full-featured edition of Windows 10 IoT that delivers enterprise manageability and locked-down capabilities for fixed-function smart devices. Companies like City Beacon are building intelligent infrastructure based on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. City Beacon has built a Smart Hub that can be located on city streets and venues; these multifunctional kiosks house a variety of IoT devices, connected to fast networks providing citizens with access to hyperlocal apps and services.
- Windows Server IoT 2019 Windows Server IoT is for the most demanding edge-computing workloads, for connecting, storing and analyzing data from large databases of connected applications, networks and web services.
Ian LeGrow is the Partner Director of Program Management for Intelligent Edge Operating Systems at Microsoft, announced the General Availability of the Windows 10 IoT Core Board Support Packages for the NXP i.MX family of processors, including i.MX6, i.MX7, i.MX 8M and i.MX 8M Mini application processor families.
Windows 10 IoT Core enables secure, power-optimized devices for the Intelligent Edge. Developers can quickly build new intelligent devices using the familiar and powerful Windows development environment and commercialize them using the Azure IoT platform.
During the keynote LeGrow also shared a new solution from Smart Tower based on the combination of Windows 10 IoT Core, NXP, and Azure IOT. The solution is designed to improve reliability and reduce downtime for critical public infrastructure, such as cell towers or electricity distribution networks. Smart Tower designed the solution to take full advantage of edge processing, creating a sensor module attached to the tower and a ground control unit that analyzes the health of the tower in real time, supporting high latency or disconnected scenarios. Additionally, the solution leverages Azure IOT Hub to manage and connect the devices and enables historical analysis across the whole network of towers being monitored. Smart Tower chose the combination of NXP, i.MX and Windows 10 IoT Core because of the extreme operating conditions the device would endure, and the familiar Windows IoT platform reduced the development costs and time to market.
Earlier this year, Microsoft enabled support for Azure IoT Edge on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise and Windows Server IoT 2019. This makes it easy to integrate the IoT Edge runtime, making it possible to move machine learning algorithms and other similarly complex computing functions from the cloud to edge devices. Windows for IoT also supports Windows Machine Learning and Windows Vision Skills, which allows you to run advanced AI algorithms developed in Azure on any Windows for IoT device.
The new Windows ML container, available today as an insider preview, is specifically designed for delivering AI-inferencing workloads built using the Windows ML API. Windows ML container gives businesses a platform to build enterprise-grade IoT solutions. It combines the features of Windows with the security of the Windows 10 IoT platform and the manageability of the Azure IoT Edge service.
Windows ML containers provide hosted AI workloads with hardware acceleration and direct access to the host’s peripheral devices. Hosted workloads can use sensors or cameras connected using USB, I2C, SPI or GPIO. Hardware acceleration is available using any DirectX 12- capable GPU or Microsoft Compute Driver Model-compliant ASICs attached to the host.
By optimizing the container specifically for AI workloads, the on-disk size of the container is approximately 350 MB, significantly smaller than any other GPU-enabled inferencing container in the market.
SQL Server has been available for embedded usage for many years, and Microsoft is bringing the latest SQL Server 2019 capabilities to embedded device builders. The company introduced SQL Server IoT 2019, which is the binary equivalent to SQL Server 2019 and will be licensed through the OEM channel and is specifically designed for dedicated-use, server-class edge appliances running application software. Coupled with Windows Server IoT 2019, Microsoft SQL Server IoT 2019 provides a comprehensive database platform for mission-critical data analytics and scalability, performance and security and intelligence over all data. SQL Server IOT brings real-time analytics on operational data with in-memory technologies with higher concurrency and scale through persistent memory. Microsoft SQL Server IoT 2019 will be available before the end of the year.