Panel PCs are widely used in embedded and industrial environments and are available in a variety of screen sizes and with different touch screen technologies.
The typical use for these Panel PC systems is as some form of “thin client” and one of the issues that is often overlooked with this type of system, is the configuration of the operating system environment for the intended use.
Windows 7 and previously Windows XP are often used for these thin clients as they are an easily understood environment for users. However it is not usually the “standard” operating system version that it used. Most of the Panel PC systems use the embedded versions of Windows.
The advantage with Windows Embedded 7 (WES7) is that it can be “locked down” so that users cannot compromise the system functionality. WES7 can also be configured to include only the components of the OS that are specifically required.
One of the functions that is most often configured to customer specific requirements is the Internet Explorer web browser. Sometimes this can be as simple as enabling the “kiosk mode” which appears as a full screen display without all the menu and status information bars displayed. However, it is usually necessary to achieve a much finer control over which elements of the web browser are allowed or not. There is also the issue of 3rd party packages which may be required to render the display. These need to be integrated into the embedded OS environment which can sometimes be very difficult to achieve.
One example of all of this is a front end display unit for an Industrial Control and Monitoring system. The system uses controllers on a network interface which communicate the display data and accept commands from the display unit. The controllers have specific requirements for operation which dictate that set versions of different web browsers are required with definitive versions of 3rd party packages integrated into the browser. This all has to function in an embedded “locked down” environment which does not permit any “on the fly” updates in order to maintain.
Most applications also require configuration of the desktop for users. This is not achieved within the Windows Embedded Development Tools but is usually done through the use of script files running as part of the “first boot” process. This can enable and disable key desktop functions and facilities.
At BVM we have many years experience configuring Panel PCs with Windows Embedded Operating Systems for numerous, different customer applications. This offers a cost effective, highly configurable, powerful and stable platform for touch screen display systems.
If your latest project involves configuring Panel PCs with Windows Embedded Operating Systems contact us.