In this article:
Microsoft Windows Embedded vs Windows 10 IoT
Assured Systems deploy Windows 10 IoT with a golden image on 1000's of Embedded Computers, Panel PCs, Single Board Computers and Rugged Tablets every year.
Microsoft’s cloud platform was updated last year for an IoT specific audience courtesy of the Azure IoT Suite which quintessentially equates to an online business tool to manage and control connected devices regardless of their deployments. The IoT platform serves to provide a range of services to facilitate definitive projects such as remote monitoring, asset management and predictive maintenance with the collected intelligence of Azures artificial intelligence to assist the technicians of whom will keep it ticking, analysing relevant data and responding with appropriate decisions all within the cloud based management Portal. Microsoft has reiterated in what will be a monumental battle for IoT domination by acquiring Solair, a company whose focus is commercial IoT services monitoring and ensuring the smooth functionality of machinery and equipment- Solair’s technology will be incorporated into the Azure platform to further strengthen its armoury.
Windows Embedded has for long been the isolated solution for industrial users building systems that don’t require all the features of a full windows install however upon the release of Windows 10 last year an IoT based alternative of Windows 10 has been promised. Windows 10 IoT is likely to become the impending replacement of the embedded platform that has ruled specialized systems for so long, the key benefits of Embedded were that it enabled enhanced levels of customization and optimized storage space savings- Microsoft are loyal to their platforms and so those key features remain but with the addition of the Windows IoT Core that quite simply offers the option to completely eradicate any traces of a graphical user interface (GUI).
Our clients are much attuned with Windows Embedded- but the new Windows 10 IoT does accommodate functionality that perhaps surpasses its predecessor. Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise is a feature attuned towards retail enterprise for mobile and handheld point of sale devices. Windows 10 IoT core is categorically aimed for custom development on small embedded and single board computers. There is a vast movement of designers and aficionados just to make and modify their own versions of major platforms, this is clearly a key indicator for Microsoft who are focusing more towards those who don’t require a screen or graphical output altogether.
Windows Embedded- The New, The Old, The Difference
Windows Embedded systems typically fall into either Modular, Full and License only divisions, the modularity is great for those (such as the industrial field) that require only certain features for a specific deployment allowing developers to choose between features as well as custom splash screen branding and filters, Windows Embedded Standard 7 worked on 3 licensing levels- C, E and P with C being the entry level and P comprising of an all-inclusive Windows 7 Embedded system, Windows Embedded Standard 8 worked very similarly with only the most expensive- license P- being the only available.
Therefore it seems that Windows 10 IoT Core is more aimed towards developers, seemingly reinforced by the Windows IT Core Starter Kit which is designed to show you and new developers around thanks to their partnership with Adafruit. Full Windows Embedded Systems differ from the modular variant as evidently in the full option all typical windows functionality is integrated alongside pre-built OS image and additional embedded functions such as filters and branding. Two previous options in this division of embedded standards are Windows Embedded POSReady 7 and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry, whilst the latest Windows 10 IoT Enterprise provides the full option with an alternate specially targeted towards retail or thin clients, which is marginally less expensive without limiting features like previous formats (WE7S) but can only be used in specific system applications such as retail, thin client or digital signage.
Finally (on the various formats of Windows Embedded) is the License-only options these are software-identical to the standard OEM OS the only difference is effectively the license agreement in that these identical systems can then be used in embedded applications, which only entails that it must be a part of a larger network or device. Windows 7 Professional for Embedded Systems and Windows Embedded 8.1 Pro are the current license-only options. However Microsoft is providing copies of Windows 10 for the Raspberry Pi 2 and the Intel Galileo bringing windows into the smaller classifications of devices where Visual Studio Express is available to free of charge for actual development.
Though it may seem the end of windows embedded it certainly is not, but Microsoft are now offering options with their new OS to be able to cater for the rapidly developing and expanding networks that the IoT covers, Microsoft maintain themselves that the Windows Embedded is not going anywhere any time soon as it remains their only real-time operating system which also has the broadest set of ports including numerous levels of ARM and x86 architectures.
The latest windows is clearly a matter of great importance for Microsoft with investments in so many industries and critical stages being realised in a number of their active markets, not forgetting that competition and the market place are becoming more and more saturated. So to cater for all Microsoft have released 7 versions of Windows 10, they are aimed at 3 audiences, home, mobile and commercial usages.
There is of course the Windows 10 Home version which is designed for the total weight of users for PCs and laptops, including iris, facial and fingerprint scanning, as well as their latest browser- Microsoft Edge.
10 Windows Mobile will replace the outgoing Windows Phone, with continuum function to work your phone as a PC when connected to a large display and a mobile optimized touch-screen version of Office and other new universal applications.
Windows 10 Pro for PCs, tablets and smart devices tuned squarely to the needs of SMEs, it derives from Windows 10 Home with minor adjustments and a wider range of adjustments for business activities.
Windows 10 Enterprise is based upon Windows 10 Pro with more advanced additions for medium to large companies, there is also a mobile version- Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise aimed at recovering ground in the business smartphone and tablet market which until recent years was Blackberry’s to lose whilst automatic updates and access to security advancements are also a part of the platform.
Windows 10 Education is quite simply a version aimed towards students and teachers based upon Windows 10 Pro with various functions included altered start menus, the latest Edge browser and enhanced security.
Windows 10 IoT Core is the real stand-out however specifically targeted for embedded IoT devices, whilst Windows 10 Enterprise/ Mobile Enterprise will drive ATMs, POS and miniature robotics, IoT Core will focus on the commercial field such as gateway devices.
Of course that is a quite a lot to take in, and at Assured Systems we can cater for all so if you would like more tailored advice get in touch we are official Windows Embedded Partners and can pragmatically point you in the appropriate direction. For windows however it seems this is a real statement of intent not just for the IoT where they are looking to solidly enforce their market presence in a $1.9 trillion marketplace due to expand 3 times over by 2020 with 3 dedicated OS versions but also for the broader market as they look to recoup ground lost in recent years in some areas whilst build on their embedded dominance in others.
About Assured Systems
Assured Systems is a leading technology company offering high quality and innovative applied computing solutions to the embedded, industrial, and digital-out-of-home markets across the world. As a Microsoft Windows Embedded partner, Assured Systems deploy Windows 10 IoT with the customer's golden image preconfigured on their embedded computer, panel PC, single board computer or rugged tablet every year. Get in touch to see how we can support your embedded roadmaps.