This week at the National Retail Federation Annual Conference and EXPO (NRF) in New York, Microsoft will demo some new connected devices, while being set to discuss its strategy in this direction.As part of its strategy, the company will make use of intelligent systems designed to enable the flow of data across a company’s infrastructure.
These involve specialized devices that connect employees and customers, as well as back-end systems and services that are relevant to business decisions.
Last year, the company released a Windows Embedded white paper meant to outline features of such intelligent systems: security, identity, connectivity, manageability, user experience and analytics.
Moreover, the company released products that help “deliver on some of these aspects of an intelligent system.”
One of these is the Kinect for Windows sensor, which was showcased at CES and which should land on shelves in February.
Also at CES, Microsoft demoed how Kinect for Windows and Windows Embedded could deliver a new retail experience. A proof-of-concept scenario developed in collaboration with Razorfish will be on display at NRF.
“[T]he Razorfish demo combines an NEC digital sign with Kinect for Windows to engage customers before they even enter the store,” Microsoft explains.
“Inside, customers encounter the same combination of technologies in a virtual dressing room experience that allows them to view, navigate and see how garments look on a lifelike avatar version of themselves, without having to switch outfits or sort through sizes.”
Moreover, the company confirmed that it would have the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface demoed at NRF, both as part of this scenario, as well as included in another one, developed in collaboration with IdentityMine.
“In both cases, customers can immerse themselves in a 40-inch touch-screen environment to find more information on the products that interest them. The Samsung SUR40 also becomes a useful tool for sales associates to upsell or cross-sell by providing visual, on-the-spot comparisons between products,” the company concludes.
A third proof of concept for NRF comes from Microsoft and Extended Results, Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, and is aimed at offering better access to real-time data.
All of the Windows Embedded-based devices included in these demos sport a pre-installed Windows Embedded Device Manager, which should provide IT professionals with the possibility to gain increased control over critical devices, such as POS systems, hand-held devices, digital signs and kiosks.
Data from these is analyzed through Microsoft applications and third-party services, including Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail, StreamInsight (a toll included in Microsoft SQL Server 2012), and PowerPivot for Excel 2010.
“Ultimately, intelligent systems will benefit everyone along the spectrum, giving retailers the relevant and timely information they need and offering customers the service they deserve,” Microsoft concludes.