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Microsoft and Intel Unveil Dev Platform for Digital Sign

Microsoft and Intel today announced the availability of a developer platform for a digital sign that offers an interactive screen and the ability to track users.

The two companies showed a prototype of the sign back in January, but now a developer kit is available. The digital sign prototype consists of two large panels. One is a holographic panel for advertising displays. The other is an LCD touch screen that allows shoppers to interact with the sign and find items in a store.

The sign also has the ability to assess those who use it. Third-party software in the platform provides "anonymous video analytics" that can detect the height and gender of a user.

A Digital Signage Evaluation Kit for developers has been released, which can be accessed from Taiwan-based Winmate Communication Inc.'s Web site here. The costs for the kits range from $999 to $2,000.

A number of companies are already working on digitals signs using Microsoft's and Intel's technologies. Those companies are "AOpen, C-nario, Digital Panorama, DT Research, Harris Corporation, HP, Micro Industries, NCR Netkey, NEC and YCD Multimedia," according to Microsoft and Intel announcements.

Intel provides its Intel Core i5/i7 processors for the sign. In addition, the platform leverages Intel vPro and Intel Active Management technologies to support remote administration, even when the sign is "powered down," according to Intel.

Microsoft provides its Windows Embedded Standard 7 componentized operating system for the sign platform, which uses .NET Framework 3.5 and Windows Presentation Foundation. The platform lets developers control power-saving features in the sign. They can also set up applications to leverage the touch-screen capabilities of the sign.

Remote management of the sign is possible using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. Administrators can set up Active Directory group policies and manage the sign using virtual desktop infrastructure.

Microsoft and Intel announced the new platform at the Screenmedia Expo Europe 2010 event, happening this week in London.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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