In May, Microsoft released the Robot Operating System for Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. In the same month, the tech giant also introduced IoT Plug and Play as part of its new intelligent edge offerings. More recently, a cross-Azure IoT collaboration with IoT Messaging was unveiled to simplify location and spatial intelligence usage.
Today, during a keynote at CEATEC Japan, Microsoft's Partner Director of Program Management for Intelligent Edge Operating Systems Ian LeGrow explained the firm's plans regarding the Windows for IoT environment. Essentially, LeGrow unveiled new offerings for customers, including a new solution from Smart Tower, Windows ML container, SQL Server IoT 2019, along with more intelligent edge capabilities and hardware options.
As far as hardware is concerned, general availability has been announced for Windows 10 IoT Core Board Support Packages (BSP) for the NXP i.MX family of processors. These include the i.MX6, i.MX7, i.MX 8M and i.MX 8M Mini application processor families. Through this move, Microsoft is aiming to provide a wider variety of industrial-grade silicon choices for IoT project engineers which enable them to better utilize the Azure IoT platform.
Furthermore, the aforementioned new solution from Smart Tower combines the power of Windows 10 IoT Core, NXP, and Azure IOT. Choosing the Windows IoT platform for this helped Microsoft reduce development costs and marketing time. Essentially, the solution focuses on the improvement of reliability for public infrastructure such as cell towers, offering advantages such as reduction in downtime. The Azure IOT Hub has also been leveraged for better management and connection of devices across the whole network.
Moving on, LeGrow also highlighted support for Azure IoT Edge on Windows 10 IoT Enterprise and Windows Server IoT 2019, something which was announced earlier this year. Through seamless integration with IoT Edge runtime, advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms can be moved to edge devices from the cloud.
With regards to machine learning, the new Windows ML container is now also available as an insider preview. Arriving at an on-disk size of a mere 350 MB, the GPU-enabled inferencing container is aimed at providing businesses an efficient platform to develop enterprise-grade IoT solutions. The new container is designed to address AI-inferencing workloads built using the Windows ML API.
And finally, Microsoft has unveiled SQL Server IoT 2019, dubbed the "binary equivalent to SQL Server 2019". It will be licensed through the OEM channel, and combine with Windows Server IoT 2019 to offer a database platform that focuses on mission-critical data analytics. Although an exact date for its release has not been specified, it will still be available in some capacity before the end of the year.
With the flurry of announcements made at CEATEC today, it certainly looks like Microsoft is granting plenty of attention towards the future of Windows for IoT. If you're attending the event this week, you can visit Microsoft's A012 booth to check out the aforementioned solutions firsthand.