Last month in Toronto, Microsoft hosted its Worldwide Partner Conference at which the company’s partners – including Brennan IT – met to discuss all things Microsoft.
There were several important announcements, including a release date for Windows 8, set to land in the first week of August and be generally available by the end of October.
There are a number of reasons why that’s good news for business.
First, Windows 8 is – in Microsoft’s view – the dawn of a new era for the company’s solutions. Thanks to the central role Microsoft’s software plays in most business infrastructures, this means an important refresh for businesses too.
Second, Windows 8 heralds more than a few innovations that have the potential to change business computing for the better. These include:
1. Windows to Go.
Secure access to systems when workers are at home or on the move is a concern for every business.
Windows 8 will make this a step easier with a feature called Windows To Go.
Windows To Go allows businesses to create their own custom image of Windows 8 that can be carried on a USB stick or flash drive.
That drive can be inserted in any PC in order to load the business environment, including access to applications, settings and data. When the user is done, the flash drive is removed and nothing remains on the host PC.
Windows To Go won’t suit every business, but it’s an important new addition to the arsenal, and will be especially useful as a contingency for business travellers.
2. ‘Fat’ applications
One thing that’s held business tablet computing back is the number of applications it supports.
Beside web apps, software providers and businesses have needed to develop specifically for platforms like iOS or Android before their applications can depart the desktop.
Windows 8 changes that. Almost without exception, it will run any Windows 8 application on a Windows 8 powered tablet – whether that application is designed for tablets or not.
This will create a surge in productivity as applications that have been limited to the desktop are let loose, with businesses discovering a new range of tablet-ready business applications almost overnight.
3. Tighter integration with Windows Phone.
Windows 8 will also see Microsoft’s Phone platform receive a boost, with closer integration allowing Windows Phone to do more for business users.
Interaction with other Microsoft products will mean the ability to use phones to do much more than email. From Lync services for real-time presence and instant messaging, to workflow execution and handy activities like expense reporting, Windows Phone will have an increasing array of advantages for business users.
4. Better performance
Windows 8 has a number of features that will make it perform better than Windows 7.
First, it boots almost twice as fast, according to most reports.
Second, it makes better use of system resources – meaning that laptop users can expect improvements in battery life after installing it.
Robin Marchant is a Brennan IT’s National Marketing Manager.