At the Computex show in Taipei last week, Microsoft outlined its plans for the Internet of Things (IoT) and how both Windows 10 and Azure will play a part in the strategy.
The IoT news was just one of many announcements made as part of a bigger keynote by Nick Parker, corporate vice president of the OEM Division at Microsoft, who was joined by Tony Prophet, corporate vice president for Windows and Search Marketing, and Roanne Sones, general manager of Windows Engineering.
Prophet discussed Microsoft's goal of having 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in the next two to three years. The first partner in that ambitious project is Toshiba, which will build "next-generation Windows- and Azure-powered IoT solutions."
That means offerings for the transportation and logistics industry, from devices to services, including state-of-the-art hardware such as an onboard video recorder than can also track vehicle data and analyze driver behavior.
This isn't exactly new. I recently saw a documentary on NHK World (the English language version of Japan's top broadcast network) on Japan's adoption of IoT, and they are way ahead of us in the States. One of the first places IoT was deployed was in heavy equipment, which Toshiba makes, to monitor the equipment and driver as described above. So this is already in use.
Toshiba will also create a ruggedized environmental device with up to 12 sensors onboard, a military-grade case, and a battery capable of six months of continuous operation that will run on the Azure infrastructure to track shipping and ensure that goods arrive on time, undamaged, and in a predictable manner.
Parker also showed off a consumer device, Crestron Pyng, a home-automation technology powered by Windows embedded services that connects lighting, shades, audio, thermostats, door locks, and security systems within the home that utilizes Azure IoT services so everything works together.
In addition, Parker showed off a wide range of new Windows 10 devices, including PCs from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Toshiba. There were all-in-ones, 2-in-1 laptops, a new HP tablet, and a Toshiba PC with biometric security technology, including a face-authentication camera.
There were also new devices, including the FoxConn Kangaroo, a portable desktop PC that turns a TV into a full Windows PC, and the Quanta Compute Plug, a mini-PC in a power adapter that plugs into the HDMI port and turns the TV into a computer display that can be controlled by Cortana voice commands.