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Microsoft and Aaeon collaborate on IoT development

Steve Rogerson
March 1, 2016
Microsoft is collaborating with Taiwan-based Aaeon to help companies get IoT applications up and running using hardware and software that has been pre-verified. The companies have combined Aaeon’s UP credit-card sized embedded board with Microsoft Azure IoT services.
The companies announced at last week’s Embedded World in Nuremberg that they are working with an ecosystem of devices and platforms and targeting applications such as robotics, drones, machine vision, smart homes, education, digital signage and intelligent cars.
“About 70 per cent of IoT value will be created in the B2B scenario,” said Microsoft’s senior channel manager Oliver Niedang. “In five years, about 70 per cent of companies will be competing using machine learning capabilities, and the four key aspects are devices, data, analytics and connectivity.”
Aaeon created the UP brand via a Kickstarter campaign and the board has now gone into pre-production. About 150 were delivered to ecosystem partners in January this year as well as to Microsoft for evaluation. The plan is for the board to be on the market fully in April.
As well as Microsoft, partners include Intel and energy harvesting company EnOcean.
“We are working with Intel for intelligent vending products,” said Fabrizio Del Maffeo, managing director for Aaeon in Europe. “WE are working with digital signage companies. We have UP working with EnOcean for energy harvesting. And from April, we will be shipping the board, with more than 2000 orders already.”
The board is powered by an Intel Atom quad-core x5-Z8350 processor with connectivity including USB 2.0 and 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI, DSI and a 40-pin IO pin header that supports expansion modules developed by the Raspberry Pi2 community. It runs Linux, Windows 10, Phoenix OS and Android.
Microsoft sees Aaeon as a key partner in industrial IoT applications.
“Machine learning is moving from diagnostic analytics to predictive analytics,” said Niedang. “We will predict what will happen to your device, and this will let you offer new services.”