REDMOND, Wash. — April 18, 2012 —The consumerization of IT presents a great opportunity to let people be productive from just about anywhere, but it also comes with some very real challenges. Companies today must be able to manage a diverse range of devices, help employees connect how they choose, and provide access to applications and information — all in a secure manner.
Today at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, the company’s Server and Tools Vice President Brad Anderson discussed how the upcoming Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 is aimed to empower productivity from anywhere, on any device, in a world where the device picture is increasingly complex.
Microsoft’s approach to managing devices in the enterprise extends beyond phones and tablets. As the market for intelligent systems swells to reach IDC’s forecast of more than 2.5 billion unit shipments by 2016, the world of embedded devices is becoming technology’s new frontier.
In the retail industry, companies are forging powerful data-mining and analysis capabilities using intelligent systems that connect point of service (POS) terminals, kiosks and digital signage with back-end software. Healthcare providers are finding new efficiency by smartly managing procedures and records. Intelligent systems are also hard at work in manufacturing and a range of other industries.
With the device layer becoming so critical to the enterprise today, companies are looking for an easy, streamlined way to manage them. Microsoft’s solution for this emerging arena is Windows Embedded Device Manager, which extends the capabilities of Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager to embedded devices through an integrated management console.
According to Robert Peterson, product manager for Windows Embedded at Microsoft, Windows Embedded Device Manager fills a need that is becoming paramount for many companies.
“As embedded devices become more sophisticated and powerful, enterprises are relying on them more and more,” Peterson says. “Just like PCs are critical around the world, ensuring that devices like thin clients are up, running and secure is a requirement to enable mission-critical business operations for many companies.”
Windows Embedded Device Manager allows IT to work with a range of devices built on the Windows Embedded Standard and Windows Embedded POSReady platforms. Through this single management solution, IT professionals can manage the most common devices found in their environments in a manner similar to PCs and servers.
This capability is a big benefit for larger organizations with a range of devices from various manufacturers. Device manufacturers often offer their own proprietary software to manage their products, but that software doesn’t integrate into a central system.
“If you have nine OEMs providing nine different management solutions, you can end up with nine different workflows to do the same thing across all your devices,” he says. “If you want to push an important update, you have to do it nine different ways. Windows Embedded Device Manager integrates all of that effort into a single pane of glass, a single management console. So you have the same workflows, the same processes, across all your devices.”
Since many OEMs preinstall Windows Embedded Device Manager, it works out of the box and connects seamlessly to System Center’s management solution. Windows Embedded Device Manager allows IT to manage device inventory, operating system deployment, software updates and settings, and according to Peterson, the functionality is easy to use.
Device write filters, which delete unwanted changes to a device upon rebooting, can also be handled. With Windows Embedded Device Manager, an IT administrator can disable the write filter, add any necessary changes and then re-enable the write filter.
“One of the challenges with security and write filters is that changes don’t always work as planned because the device is locked down,” Peterson says. “For example, with Windows Embedded Device Manager, you can run security software like Forefront within the secure write filter handling process and allow those security updates to persist on the device.
This week Microsoft announced that the latest version of the product, Windows Embedded Device Manager 2012, will become available in the first quarter of 2013 to support System Center 2012 Configuration Manager customers. The company is offering a demo Windows Embedded Device Manager 2012 this week at the Microsoft Management Summit.