REDMOND, Wash. — May 24, 2011 — Have you ever wondered about the people behind the products at Microsoft or wondered who gives us that “aha” moment when we see new, innovative technology? Well, the Windows Embedded News Center (WENC) editorial staff thought we would provide a sneak peek into the lives of the people who work behind the scenes at Windows Embedded to see what makes them tick and how they’re working to continually evolve the platforms that enable original equipment manufacturers to deliver the latest devices that are woven throughout our lives. Their work spans homes and cars to offices and retailers and beyond.
Our most recent interview took place with Microsoft Windows Embedded senior product manager David Wurster, with whom we discussed what led him to his current role at Microsoft, as well as all the exciting new happenings with Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 since its launch at the National Retail Federation’s Convention and Expo earlier this year.
Windows Embedded Senior Product Manager David Wurster
WENC: What has brought you to Microsoft Windows Embedded, specifically working on Windows Embedded Handheld (background, technology interest, love for the industry, etc.)?
David: I have always had an interest in devices. It’s very interesting to see how devices, especially mobile devices, have become such an important aspect of our everyday lives. In today’s world, people consume information from many points, whether it is a PC, a handheld device you carry in your pocket or even an in-vehicle system. The pervasiveness of devices from both a consumer and business perspective is what initially brought me to this industry and Windows Embedded specifically. It’s both interesting and intriguing.
In regards to Windows Embedded Handheld, I came into this sector because I thought it was a really unique opportunity within Microsoft and a great chance to be a part of an industry making an impact within the mobile enterprise. For me, it’s exciting to wake up and come to work every day knowing that with my team, I’m on the forefront of technology with enterprise mobile solutions.
WENC: What is some of the latest news within Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 since launching in January?
David: We’re starting to see devices come to market from our original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners running on Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. For example, OEM partners, such as Honeywell and Intermec, have already announced and launched a number of different devices on Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. It’s really exciting to see the traction of our partnerships with OEMs and the impact it has on our end customers.
Additionally, we’ve already had several larger customers in industries including retail, transportation and logistics request Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. Since the platform launch in January, we’ve seen a ton of momentum and pickup.
WENC: Is there a specific feature, functionality or capability of the platform that you find most exciting?
David: There are a couple things that really make Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 exciting for customers. The first thing is the platform’s ability to fit into the enterprise; meaning that these devices are designed to connect to the back-end systems that power businesses. Through a Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 device, a mobile worker can access and act upon data in real time, and that itself is very important.
With Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, there is a multitude of connectivity options, whether it is Wi-Fi or cellular based; wherever you are there is access to that data. When the workforce has constant connectivity, it is easier to do the job more effectively. Additionally, giving an IT administrator the ability to manage these devices and configure them to be optimized for workers is very important and unique in the mobile device space.
In the retail market, for example, we’re starting to see a shift from having data stored at fixed points, such as registers, to devices that empower a mobile worker with rich data and business-critical information in front of them. Customer service and directing people to the goods they want is a huge advantage. For example, a consumer can interact with an associate on the floor and, through an enterprise handheld device, that associate can get an inventory count, pricing information and data on any product, which greatly improves customer service and provides the ability to address customer concerns at point of impact.
WENC: What is one thing that keeps you coming to work every day? What about Windows Embedded gets you out of bed every morning?
David: I work on a really exciting team and in an interesting department. We optimize technology for specialized devices on a daily basis and figure out new ways to help our OEMs create and bring new devices to the enterprise quickly.
One of the most inspiring things is being able to see how our OEMs and partners leverage the Windows Embedded technology. It’s fascinating working with our partners, who are the ones actually bringing devices to market that run on Windows Embedded. Watching how they use the Windows Embedded platform to create really cool, next-generation devices that have never been seen before or thought of is astonishing.
WENC: What is something that the Windows Embedded team would be surprised to know about you? (Keep in mind this will be posted on the internet.)
David: I was a competitive skier in Colorado for seven years before my time at Microsoft.
WENC: If you weren’t a part of the Windows Embedded team, what would you be doing instead (career-wise)?
David:I can point to two things I would be doing if it weren’t for Windows Embedded. The first is sports casting. I love sports, especially college sports, so broadcasting for college football or hockey would be fun. If that didn’t work out, I’d be a chef. It’s fun to build different concoctions and let my creative juices flow in the kitchen and come up with something different that tastes really great!