What Can Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011 Do for Enterprise IT Professionals?

REDMOND, Wash. — March 30, 2011 — Embedded device usage has infiltrated enterprises across multiple industries spanning retail, manufacturing and medical. Dedicated to providing solutions that span the enterprise, Microsoft realized the need for an all-encompassing management solution spanning PCs, servers and embedded devices. To help address this concern, Windows Embedded recently unveiled Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011, extending the capabilities of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007, to help round up and rein in the management of all enterprise devices.

On the heels of this announcement, the Windows Embedded News Center editorial team spoke with Windows Embedded Senior Product Manager, Robert Peterson, the man on the frontlines of the launch, to share a little perspective into how Windows Embedded Device Manager can help enterprise IT professionals in the real world.

Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011 helps enterprise manage embedded devices found in their environments built on the Windows Embedded Standard and Windows Embedded POSReady platforms, including thin client, point of service (POS), and digital signage devices.

Windows Embedded News Center Editorial Staff (WENC):
Hi Robert, thanks for joining us today. What do you believe are the most exciting benefits of Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011?

Robert Peterson (RP): My pleasure. Windows Embedded Device Manager provides many exciting benefits to enterprise IT professionals, mainly by serving as a single management console to deploy, assess and update a wide range of Windows Embedded-based devices by extending the capabilities of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007. This means enterprises implementing Windows Embedded Device Manager are able to leverage their existing investment in Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to manage not only the PCs and servers within their organization, but their embedded devices built on the Windows Embedded Standard and Windows Embedded POSReady platforms. Because there is pre-existing familiarity with the system, this process streamlines and simplifies device management for the entire enterprise.

For example, last week at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, we showed attendees how Windows Embedded Device Manager could help IT professionals in an airport or transit environment. It may not seem obvious at first, but any reader who has checked in at an airline kiosk, looked at flight times and information on digital signage displays, or received a ticket upgrade at the flight counter has been exposed to an IT infrastructure that poses challenges to IT professionals managing those embedded devices. When you think about it, a single airline, let alone an airport, has a lot of devices to manage. And that’s where Windows Embedded Device Manager steps in: It provides a solution to help manage all these devices on a large scale from one centralized system.

Interesting, I never thought about all the devices at a single airport. So, what about other examples? How might the Windows Embedded Device Manager solution help an enterprise IT professional working for a big-brand retailer?

RP: Retail environments are a great example of where Windows Embedded Device Manager can make a huge difference. A retailer may be deploying thin-client devices for its office staff to easily access information or point-of-service devices, such as a self-service checkout system, to provide quick checkout lanes, and digital signage is often displayed throughout a store to attract and direct shoppers to various in-store locations. As you can see, these devices are growing in usage and serve more mission-critical functions, making it essential for IT administrators to use technology to keep these devices and ultimately the enterprise up and running.

Before Windows Embedded Device Manager, IT professionals didn’t have the ability to easily administer a specific upgrade package or security update on an embedded device, or even to a collection of embedded devices. Without pre-defined configuration, aka grouping options, on a management console, they couldn’t differentiate an embedded device from a personal computer. That’s like saying the retail salesperson couldn’t tell the difference between pants and skirts in the stock room — not the most ideal situation.

How does Windows Embedded Device Manager help an IT department address pre-defined configuration issues when they’re managing across PCs, servers and embedded devices?

RP: With Windows Embedded Device Manager and its extended functionality based on System Center Configuration Manager 2007, the retail IT professional can group embedded devices into pre-defined collections unique to category and even device type. All embedded devices can be assembled into one overall category or even segmented into specific device groups, which means the self-service checkout scanners are together in one configuration group, thin clients in another group, and digital signage in another. Remember, these different device categories and collections are still ultimately managed on one console, so enterprise IT professionals are able to utilize established processes and extend the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 console, streamlining and simplifying device management for the entire enterprise.

We even have one of our partners, Wyse, a leader in cloud computing technology, already taking advantage of the solution, recently revealing its plan to partner with Microsoft to deliver the first Windows Embedded thin clients managed by Microsoft Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011.

Aside from greater insight and control over their Windows Embedded-powered devices, Windows Embedded Device Manager also frees administrators’ time that can be focused on more critical business issues.

WENC Editorial Staff:
Do you have any last thoughts you’d like to share with us about Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011?

RP: The retail and airport example provide just a glimpse into how embedded devices are being used in today’s enterprises. With embedded devices’ widespread usage, it’s important for enterprises to have an efficient and effective managed solution. Windows Embedded Device Manager is the key.

To find out more about the latest Windows Embedded happenings check out the Windows Embedded News Center and be sure to follow our Twitter handle, @MSFTWEB, for real-time updates on all our news, including Windows Embedded Device Manager 2011.

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