Microsoft and our partner ecosystem are delivering intelligent cloud and intelligent edge solutions that help customers manage their digital lives and achieve more. We’re also supporting businesses by providing the platforms, devices and solutions that power a new era of productivity, creativity, simplicity and security.
At CES we showcased partner solutions and innovation across the intelligent edge including: modern PCs, connected computing devices, powerful gaming PCs, exciting IoT retail experiences and new Azure Sphere modules and starter kits that will help ensure security for billions of connected devices. Our partners are bringing the edge to life, and it’s amazing to see so many examples of that on display here at CES.
Modern PC experiences
We think of the personal computer as the ultimate intelligent edge – it’s the device that has transformed the world of creativity and productivity, and help us get more done. The level of innovation we’re continuing to see in the PC space is fueling new scenarios, breakthrough levels of performance and new cloud-connected experiences.
Modern PCs are sleek, fast, secure and durable, and have long battery life, offering beautiful designs across all price points. Premium PCs like the HP Spectre Folio and the LG Gram 17″ provide elegant designs with amazing battery life, are great to use and have the latest and greatest features – showcasing the best that Windows 10 has to offer.
We also see a growing number of highly affordable laptops that are secure, easy to use online or offline, and are great options for work or play. To see them in action, check out the ASUS Vivobook 14/15 X412/512 or the Dell Inspiron 5482 2-in-1 or Samsung Notebook Flash.
Treat yourself to all the power and performance you want and expect from Windows, at the price that’s right for you.
Another area where we’re seeing PC innovation is in the connected computing space. These devices will change your expectations of a PC, as they are always securely connected, and provide all-day battery life to help you be even more productive.
Where LTE was once “nice to have,” more and more users are seeing the benefits of being always connected to what is important to them, both at home and at work. The investments Microsoft and partners like Intel and Qualcomm are making in connected computing are transforming work and life, and we firmly believe that fast, affordable and ubiquitous cellular connectivity, driven by LTE and now 5G, will become core to the way people work across devices.
Power of PC gaming
Windows 10 is the biggest PC gaming platform out there – and we’re adding new features that bring immersive gaming to life in incredible new ways. Our partners are driving innovation by leveraging these new Windows features and releasing new powerful gaming rigs, with the latest silicon, graphics and performance enhancements for the gaming community.
With Windows 10, you get the latest in gaming innovations, including support for HDR screens and 4K, and now DirectX Raytracing – which gives graphics better lighting, shadows and reflections. It’s a whole new visual experience that you can only get on Windows 10 gaming rigs.
Windows 10 also has Game bar, which lets you record, broadcast and customize your gameplay. It’s the one-stop shop that allows you to control individual audio settings, take screen recordings, and instantly stream live gameplay to Mixer. No additional software is required.
At CES, partners including ASUS, Acer, Dell and Lenovo announced gaming PCs featuring the new Nvidia RTX 20 Series chips, which enable raytracing. This amazing advancement in silicon takes immersive gaming to a whole new level, thanks to the power of Windows 10.
Also, partners including ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI are bringing thin and light PCs traditionally targeted at gamers to new audiences, such as creators who also benefit from powerful processors and incredible graphics, allowing them to build large design or video files seamlessly.
Check out Xbox Wire for the latest on the new gaming PCs announced at CES.
Internet of Things
IoT is another area where we’re seeing innovation throughout the ecosystem with partners bringing new intelligent edge and intelligent cloud solutions to meet customer’s needs. IoT is transforming the way businesses operate – helping them increase operational efficiency, reduce cost, improve customer experiences and digitally transform their products and services. Consumers are also using connected IoT solutions in new ways. Fitness, connected home, shopping, finance, and so many more areas in which industry is delivering new IoT-based devices and experiences that help customers seamlessly stay connected and be more productive.
Microsoft is excited to partner with the broadest set of IoT ecosystem partners – hardware manufacturers, solution providers and aggregators – to supply a diverse portfolio of IoT solutions to businesses and customers across industries and scenarios. Below are a few that we’re showcasing at CES.
Global retail trends point to an enormous IoT growth motion with 70 percent of retailers planning to invest in IoT by 2021. We are seeing these investments improving the retailer’s own operations, creating new customer interactions, both in-store and online, as well as transforming personalized shopping experiences.
For example, this holiday I didn’t have to wait in any lines to buy gifts. I used an app on my mobile phone, like SKIP’s frictionless shopping solution which we are showcasing at CES this year. With SKIP, a shopper can enter the store, scan any item they pick up along their shopping journey and simply exit the store. The charges will be automatically billed to the shopper’s SKIP account. This type of simplified mobile checkout solution helps retailers enhance customer experiences and lets retail employees focus on more important things.
It’s not just the in-store experience that’s changing. We are also showcasing Mobiliya’s Asset Tracking and Monitoring solution which leverages low-cost IoT sensors using RFID, sonar and Bluetooth technologies to track assets both indoor and outdoor. This solution improves operational efficiencies, increases visibility and enhances supply chain management for both retailers and their suppliers.
We are also demonstrating Genetec’s Retail Sense Video Analytics solution. Powered by Microsoft Azure, Genetec’s solution enables retailers to use their existing camera systems to layer on this analytics solution to track key retailer metrics such as: customer counting, dwell-time and heatmapping, directional analysis, and occupancy. Using this data, store operators can make adjustments to displays and fixtures, store staffing schedules and much more in improving their overall in-store shopping experience.
Connected cars in the year ahead
The auto industry is also innovating on the intelligent edge. Several of our auto partners including ZF, LG Electronics (LGE) and the BMW Group announced new Azure and Microsoft AI solutions this week.
Securing connected devices
It’s clear at CES that everyone is making IoT devices and solutions available – everything from household appliances and health monitors, to cars, toys and industrial equipment. Because these devices can be cloud-powered or run without connectivity, a holistic security approach must be taken, from hardware to software and the cloud. For instance, Hampton Products International, makers of the ARRAY By Hampton family of connected devices, has selected the Microsoft Azure IoT cloud platform to power its next-generation smart devices and future IoT product development. Avnet, AI-Link and Seeed are making it easier for customers to develop secure, connected microcontroller-unit (MCU) devices by making an Azure Sphere starter kit and Azure Sphere modules available. This will help secure the billions of MCU-powered devices that ship every year, helping make the devices we put in our homes more secure. To learn more about partners who have announced new connected devices and solutions, check out The Azure IoT blog by Sam George.