What Is Windows 10 IoT, and When Would You Want to Use It?

Windows 10 IOT Starter Pack with Rasberry PiMicrosoft

Microsoft offers Windows 10 in nine separate editions, ranging from the domestic version to Business at Server. Windows 10 IoT (Internet of Things) is the edition that you are least likely to own but also the one that you have probably used more than you think.

Windows 10 IoT is out of Windows Embedded

Man speaking in front of the Windows Embedded logo.Microsoft

Windows 10 IoT is an evolution of an earlier edition of Windows, Windows Embedded. If your memory is long enough, remember stories of ATMs in Windows XP and needs a serious update. These ATMs, and other similar devices, used Windows Embedded (XPe). The central concept is a lighter version of the Windows operating system that would work well on a less powerful hardware, a use scenario or both.

A bank can use this operating system for an ATM, a retailer can use it for a point-of-sale system and a manufacturer can use it for a simple prototype. However, Windows IoT is not just a renamed version of Windows to take advantage of the Internet of Thingsit's not just business and big business. This is evident in the two different versions of the operating system, IOT Enterprise and IoT Core.

RELATED: What is the Internet of Things?

IoT Enterprise is for multiple devices

Microsoft offers Windows 10 IoT in two versions, Enterprise and Core. The Enterprise version is essentially Windows 10 Enterprise but with additional lock controls. With these controls, you can force Windows to display a single kiosk application, for example. Windows will always work in the background, but average users should not access these services. If you have approached a registration point and the registration application has been blocked and Windows 10 is visible, you have probably encountered Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.

In the same way as Windows 10 Enterprise, you can not buy a license for IoT Enterprise in a store. Microsoft distributes licenses through reseller partners and OEM contracts. As it is a full version of Windows, you have all the power that accompanies it but has a distinct disadvantage: IoT Enterprise will not run on the processors ARM.

IoT Core is for single cards, solo programs and sensors

A Windows IOT robot powered by raspberry pi with hologramsThe small wheeled equipment robot is powered by a Raspberry Pi and a Windows IOT. Microsoft

The IoT Core, on the other hand, is reduced in comparison. You do not benefit from any Windows Shell experience; Instead, the operating system can run only one UWP (Universal Windows Program) application and processes in the background. However, the IoT Core will work on ARM processors. You would choose IOT Core to run simple programs that do not require as much direct interaction with the user. For example, the Glas Thermostat uses IoT Core. And, thanks to ARM compatibility, you can run IoT Core on simple cards like the Raspberry pie.

This latest feature makes IoT Core an excellent choice for fast prototypes for manufacturers or ad hoc projects for hobbyists. Hackster, a hardware and software development community, hosts several unique examples of core IoT core, including a pet-door with gratitude, a facial recognition door, a smarthome dashboardand one magic mirror. These are all projects that you could possibly build yourself if you have the necessary skills. Microsoft has even demonstrated Robot powered by Raspberry Pi who used Windows IOT and interacted with the holograms. It provides the resources necessary for you to download IoT Core for personal use with a free license.

In addition, the IoT Core on a Raspberry Pi or Minnowboard can be associated with sensors and mechanisms such as cameras, PIR sensors, servos and temperature sensors for extended use. This, in turn, allows Windows 10 to communicate the data collected by these sensors, the basic premise of the Internet of Things.

Windows IoT is a closed-source choice for Visual Studio developers

You may be wondering why anyone would like to use Windows IoT instead of many alternatives such as Linux or Android. For the most part, it is important to know who the device is for and who is doing the programming.

The benefits of open source, like license and customization options, are often touted as great things – and they are. But open source is not the best choice for all scenarios. Sometimes, specific projects require closed-source (or proprietary) software. Some companies and governments (for better or for worse) explicitly prohibit the use of open source software in their purchases. Even when a company does not ban open source software, they may be unofficially disheartened or unwelcome. If you are a manufacturer and you are able to work with one or the other of these options, you will use everything that makes your customer happy.

But, putting aside the debate about open source software and proprietary software, there is another distinct advantage for some people. Windows 10 IoT is linked to Visual Studio and you can use this IDE to develop programs. In fact, IoT Core is designed to work "headless" (without GUI) and connects to another Windows 10 machine for programming and commenting. If you still spend most of your development time in Visual Studio, choosing Windows 10 IoT instead of an alternative can save you time learning and configuration. You will be able to immediately use your complete experience.

The average daily user will probably not download and will not use Windows 10 IoT, but that does not mean that he will not use it. Essentially, if you're not a developer, this operating system works for you in a way that you may not even notice. This could feed the kiosk you were using order food in a restaurant or prepare your next cocktail. Even if you are a developer or someone who likes to delve into his hobbies, but you find the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlearning an alternative like Linux, you take too much time, Windows 10 IoT could be the best option for your next project.

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