Microsoft’s recent preview of Windows 10 was what some called a last chance to convince the world that Windows "still matters." And most critics have said that Windows 10 has done just that, offering many new features geared to both consumers and enterprises that makes use across devices – including productivity applications – a more seamless experience.
Windows 10 will not be out for a few months, but some of the new or enhanced Windows 10 features previewed this week can we viewed in this 90-second video by CNN or we have outlined a few below.
- Cortana: Microsoft’s digital assistant and search feature currently only available on Windows Phone will now be on Windows 10.
- Synchronization between devices: Windows 10 for phones will basically act like an extension of your PC, featuring universal Windows apps that share the same central heart and design as their PC counterparts, as well as universal notifications that synchronize across devices.
- Spartan: A new browser replaces Internet Explorer in Windows 10, offering many features including a note-taking mode that lets you annotate a webpage, then share your marked-up version with others; a clipping tool that allows you to save portions of websites directly to OneNote; and the ability to tap into the Windows Reading List app, so you can save articles to read later, synchronizing the list across multiple devices. (Unlike the Reading List app in Windows 8, the one in Windows 10 will let you save content to read offline.)
- Easier deployment: Windows 10 will use an in-place upgrade instead of the traditional wipe-and-load approach that organizations have historically used to deploy new Windows versions. This upgrade process is designed to preserve the apps, data, and configuration from the existing Windows installation.
- One Windows: The One Windows store will offer universal Windows apps that can be used across phone, tablet and PC platforms. For organizations, the Store will also offer a new web-based Store portal that will allow IT administrators to browse the app catalog and acquire apps in bulk.
- Easier device management: Enhanced mobile device management (MDM) capabilities will allow enterprises to manage PCs, tablets and smartphones with one technique. Introduced in Windows 8, the original version was designed primarily for "bring your own device" (BYOD) scenarios, but in Windows 10, Microsoft will add MDM options for corporate-owned devices.
- Better security: Improved security features will include a new two-factor authentication feature that treats the device as one factor and a user PIN or biometric signature (such as a fingerprint) as the other. Windows 10 will separate personal and corporate data – particularly helpful for organizations with BYOD environments.
While Windows 10 looks promising for both consumers and enterprises, particularly how it integrates its applications across multiple devices, the fact is that Microsoft just skipped over Windows 9, discontinued both XP and 7 last year, and Windows 8 will soon be obsolete. It's a harsh reminder that now more than ever, businesses need to reevaluate their technology replacement cycle and be able to evaluate and adopt new tools in order to avoid the risks and inefficiencies of obsolete or aging technology (see Sinu blog: Protecting yourself from the risks of obsolete technology). Lifespans of 1 to 2 years will be the norm for the new generation of software and that means an organization's people and its IT department have to be ready for regular migrations and updates as things change. Performing these updates while not causing disruption is what organizations have to master in today’s world.
At Sinu, we help our customers navigate the myriad of new technologies and help identify the tools and migration processes that will be most beneficial and least disruptive to the people we support. As a start, we typically recommend conducting an inventory of your technology tools, followed by development of a detailed replacement plan. For instance, a company’s operating budget should assume a 3 to 4-year lifespan for your hardware devices, and 1 to 3 years for software and mobile devices. (Use the Sinu Store as a guideline of what today’s devices cost and plan to replace 20-30% of your company’s devices yearly to ensure no device is more than 4 years old. To access the Sinu Store, go to Sinu Support and click the STORE tab on the far right.) By anticipating the lifecycle dictated by today’s technology industry, your business will be healthier, your team more productive, and your budget will have fewer surprises.