Microsoft update, Windows 7 security-only update, Azure Sphere availability

Azure Sphere, Microsoft’s Linux-based operating system for IoT applications, will be generally available in February 2020, the tech giant announced earlier this week.

Microsoft said the full launch of the product after it was introduced in April 2018 marks the company’s readiness to provide cloud security at scale and put the company’s expertise to work by delivering over a decade of ongoing security improvements and OS updates to each device.

Citing Gartner, Microsoft said 14.2 billion devices are connected to the internet, with that number expected to grow to 20 billion by next year.

“Although this number appears large, we expect IoT adoption to accelerate to provide connectivity to hundreds of billions of devices,” the company said in a blog post. “This massive growth will only increase the stakes for devices that are not secured.”

The first Azure Sphere-certified chip, MdiaTek’s MT3620, is being adopted by companies across different industries to design and produce consumer appliances to retail and manufacturing equipment, Microsoft said.

Related: Microsoft Is Headed to Court Again, This Time Over Data

The chips are also being used to power guardian modules to provide security an protect mission-critical equipment. These modules plug into existing physical interfaces on equipment and can be easily deployed with common tech skill sets. The first modules are available from Avnet and AI-Link, Microsoft said.

In the last few months, Microsoft partnered with NXP and Qualcomm to develop new chips.

The company highlighted three high-profile customers already taking advantage of the platform:

  • Coffee superpower Starbucks is deploying Azure Sphere across its existing mission-critical equipment in stores globally.
  • Gojo Industries, the maker of PURELL Hand Sanitizer, is upgrading its SMARTLINK Technology to deploy secure and connected sanitizer dispensers in hospitals. This makes it possible to quantify hand-cleaning behavior in order to implement better practices.
  • Leoni, a maker of cable systems for energy and data management in the automotive industry, is using Azure Sphere with integrated sensors to monitor cable conditions to create intelligent and connected systems.


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