Windows for robots: Microsoft reveals new Windows Server IoT 2019

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Windows Server IoT 2019 is the “binary equivalent” to Windows Server 2019 and is designed to help developers who are familiar with building in Windows Server environments.

The IoT variant of Windows Server 2019 is exclusive to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and businesses that build products for retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and other industries. It has five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support, employing a licensing model suited to devices that need longer support windows.

Microsoft envisages Windows Server 2019 for companies that build network video recorders or high-end gateways that are connected to tons of sensors that feed back in real time to Microsoft Azure cloud for analysis and insights.

Last year Microsoft unveiled an experimental release of Robot Operating System (ROS) for Windows, which gave developers tools to use Visual Studio for building robot applications, as well as Microsoft’s Azure AI and IoT services.

Until then, the company hadn’t said much about how it planned to approach industrial robots, which now provide services to warehouses for distributing to online shoppers, and are becoming integral to manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare.

Microsoft now says developers can deploy “commercial-grade” ROS apps on Windows to make devices on the edge of networks smarter using Azure Cognitive Services.

Microsoft also unveiled a public preview of Windows 10 IoT Core bundled with Azure services, running on Dutch chip maker NXP’s i.MX 8M and i.MX 8M Mini processors, furthering Microsoft’s cloud affair with Linux.

“The i.MX 8M family of applications processors will enable secure, power-optimized devices for the intelligent edge that give developers a choice of Linux or Windows IoT,” Microsoft notes.

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise also gains extra support from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon support for always-on, always-connected IoT devices.