Manufacturing at a Crossroads: Windows Embedded at SPS IPC Drives 2012

Posted By Barb Edson
General Manager, Marketing and Business Development

My colleague Werner Reuss recently got to showcase some game-changing new embedded solutions for the manufacturing industry at the annual SPS IPC Drives technology event in Nuremberg, Germany. Werner is the Windows Embedded business lead for Germany and Eastern Europe; here, he shares his impressions of the show.

For the 23rd year in a row, over 55,000 manufacturers, engineers, developers, designers, exhibitors and even the general public (!) attended SPS IPC Drives in Nuremberg this week, Europe’s leading trade show for electric automation.

While I’ve been to the show before with Microsoft, this was my first time with Windows Embedded, a group I joined just this past summer from Microsoft Germany’s Server & Tools business. I was fortunate to join the team at such a significant point in its growth here in Europe.

On one hand, the embedded industry is experiencing incredible growth as the demand for industry-specific IT automation intensifies. On the other hand, I work closely with partners and customers using embedded devices to power the German manufacturing industry, where every slowdown in orders of the lifeblood of our national economy is felt by all of us. What constantly strikes me is that both industries are at the crux of reinvention. More and more businesses in Germany, and around the world, are moving towards intelligent systems, to uncover the strategic business insight they need to be more agile, more competitive, more efficient. So much so that IDC forecasts the market for intelligent systems within industrial automation will reach 85 million units by 2016.[1]

As a result, we used the Windows Embedded booth at SPS IPC Drives to demonstrate with 12 of our valued partners a number of industry devices and intelligent systems that show just what’s possible in modern manufacturing.


I’m particularly proud of the work one of our long-term European partners, Beckhoff, and its customer AREVA Wind, brought to the show, where they demonstrated the intelligent system behind a fully automated, self-monitoring wind energy plant that runs on Windows Embedded CE, Visual Studio and the .NET Compact Framework. This intelligent system’s remote device management monitors the data flow from 5,000 offshore windmills and six offshore wind turbines, back to onshore databases and systems that have the potential to meet up to 15 percent of Germany’s total electricity requirements by 2030.

It is just this kind of innovation that keeps me on the road to attend events like SPS IPC Drives. Thanks for following along.

[1] IDC: “The Next Stage of Computing: Intelligent Systems.” Doc #234027, March, 2012.

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