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Microsoft puts meat on Windows 10 IoT Core and makes Azure IoT Suite available

Steve Rogerson
October 1, 2015
 
Microsoft has given more details about the Windows 10 IoT Core, a version of Windows 10 targeted towards small, embedded devices that may or may not have screens. The company also announced that its Azure IoT Suite is available for customers to purchase.
 
“We’ve received a lot of feedback that has helped us shape the next update,” said Steve Teixeira from Microsoft’s IoT team on the Windows 10 IoT Core announcement. “What we’re doing in this upcoming Windows Insider release can be broadly described as three buckets: responding to your feedback, improving security and expanding development choices.”
 
He said that feedback on the Windows 10 IoT Core had been “tremendously influential” in improving the quality and completeness of this release, which will include many of the changes and requests that have been made, such as adding support for pulse-width modulation (PWM) and analogue-to-digital converters (ADC) via an integrated and extensible provider API, addressing issues around the USB HID class driver, and many bug fixes.
 
“We also saw how popular the web-based device management interface is with customers, so we’re continuing the investment in it and delivering new functionality to change the device name, password and the ability to start processes,” said Teixeira.
 
He said Microsoft was committed to delivering a highly secure platform on which to build IoT applications, and was going to continue that commitment in upcoming releases.
 
“We summarise our IoT security goal as bringing Windows’ enterprise grade security to IoT, devices and you’ll soon see secure boot and Bitlocker encryption available in the IoT Core builds,” he said. “By building this into IoT Core, you can get these highly valuable security features without needing to build your own implementations meaning you can get your project done faster and still be more secure.”
 
With Windows 10 IoT Core being part of the Windows family, it already offers Universal Windows Platform’s (UWP) programming model and language support. He said the company had seen seen a great deal of enthusiasm for using Node.js in IoT projects, so it was investing to improve the experience on IoT Core with a single installer for all Node.js components, support for the Node.js Serial and Cylon robotics framework libraries, and a Cylon project template for Visual Studio.
 
Windows 10 IoT Core is available through the Windows Insider programme, which will also give access to all the Windows Insider releases of Windows, not just IoT Core, and users will be automatically notified when a new release becomes available.
 
Microsoft also announced that it was partnering with Adafruit to release a starter kit to help learn either electronics or Windows 10 IoT Core and the Raspberry Pi 2. This kit includes a compatible set of sensors, electronic parts, wires and cables that have been verified to work with Windows 10 IoT Core. It also has an SD card preloaded with Windows 10 IoT Core. The kit comes with getting started instructions and sample code for projects.
 
The kit was featured on Microsoft’s stand at the World Maker Faire in New York last weekend.
 
The Azure IoT Suite integrates with a company’s existing processes, devices and systems to build and scale IoT projects across their business using preconfigured set-ups. In addition, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT programme, an ecosystem of partners whose offerings have been tested and certified so businesses can take their next IoT project from testing to production more quickly. Current partners include BeagleBone, Freescale, Intel, Raspberry Pi, Resin.io, Seeed Technology and Texas Instruments.
 
To enable customers to manage their data better, Microsoft also announced the expansion of Azure Data Lake. This includes Azure Data Lake Analytics, Azure Data Lake Store, a new programming language U-SQL, and Azure HDInsight general availability on Linux. Azure Data Lake is said to make big data processing and analytics simpler and more accessible for everyone.
 
Texas Instruments has announced three evaluation kits based on its embedded processors supporting Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT. The Microsoft Azure IoT Suite's agent code has been pre-ported to TI's low-power SimpleLink Wifi CC3200 wireless MCU LaunchPad kit and Sitara AM335x processor-based BeagleBone Black and BeagleBoard Green kits. Developers can expect additional certifications of TI products in the coming months.
 
The Microsoft programme verifies that a member's hardware is compatible with Azure IoT Suite and enables developers who have purchased TI's development kits to download easily the appropriate Microsoft Azure for IoT agent to connect to the cloud.
 
Microsoft has also certified the ARMMbed-enabled Freescale FRDM-K64F development board for IoT products that securely gather and channel data into the public cloud platform, Microsoft Azure. This is the first ARM Mbed board tested and verified by Microsoft Azure Certified for IoT to support the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite.