By Kevin Dallas, Windows Embedded Team

Today we announced the general availability of the Windows Embedded 8 family of products. You can read more about that announcement here.

I’ve been involved in a lot of launches at Microsoft over the years, but to me, this feels like something more. As the promise of a world of connected devices and the Internet of Things accelerates, enterprises have the unparalleled opportunity to capture, analyze and act on data throughout their organization with intelligent systems.

Windows Embedded 8 is set to be a catalyst for this acceleration, coupling the power of Windows 8 technologies on edge devices with the full software and services stack from Microsoft behind them. Now applications designed to work on a range of industry devices can deliver modern, rich experiences, while leveraging the power of technologies stretching all the way back to the cloud. Imagine the possibilities.

We’ve already seen organizations around the world do amazing things by knitting Microsoft technologies together with smarter, connected devices at the network edge. And with the release of Windows Embedded 8, everything
is coming together
.

You have the cloud with its limitless storage and processing capabilities, along with SQL Server and its amazing analytics functions. And then there’s the rich, multi-touch and gesture interface features of Windows 8, which really have the power to change everything when it comes to the user experiences that these devices can provide. This is the next generation of natural user interface, which is particularly relevant in scenarios like retail, where ease of use and compelling user experiences are key.

We’ve also been working with partners to help them realize the intelligent systems opportunity. Over the past 24 months we’ve created a single line of products that includes software for sensors, machines, devices, all the way through to the cloud, with everything OEMs need to bring devices into any enterprise environment.

For the first time, we’re releasing an entire Windows Embedded platform that was built from the ground up with this vision in mind, with all the capabilities of Microsoft’s latest technologies. With Windows Embedded 8, our product family evolves, from the operating systems we used to deliver, to the core set of cohesive software and services needed to build intelligent systems.

Additionally, Visual Studio 2012 support opens up the platform for a whole community of developers to build engaging web-based and line-of-business applications for different industries like retail, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and more. Enterprise-level management and control is built in.

Videos: How Windows Embedded 8 opens up new possibilities in the retail and manufacturing industries.

It’s hard to explain our excitement as we look forward to seeing what customers and manufacturers are going to do with it. Our customers now get to explore this tremendous opportunity to deliver new value in new ways. It’s about building connected services that span productivity, entertainment, communications, logistics, analytics. It’s about creating new experiences for users, and discovering new insight from new forms of operational data.

We are already working with a number of enterprise customers who understand these devices and the data they generate is a true asset, and are using it to drive new levels of operational intelligence, and deliver it in new ways. If you’d like to join the movement and discover what the next generation of Windows Embedded can do for your company, device, software or service, visit http://www.getwindowsembedded8.com/.

This post originally appeared on the Approaching Embedded Intelligently blog here.