Windows 8.1–Let the Excitement Begin

imageIt has been a bad week to be offline.  I’ve been wrapped up in several customer events over the last couple of days that have kept me away from sharing all of the great announcements that have been made recently.  Here’s a quick recap if you have been away too.

Windows 8.1 for broad adoption

A few days ago, I posted an article by Gartner’s Michael Silver and Stephen Kleynhans’ recommendations which included for enterprises to “evaluate Windows 8.1 for broader deployment.”

Outlook 2013 RT

imageEarlier today, the Office News reported “Outlook 2013 RT Coming to Windows RT as part of Windows 8.1 Update.”  This is excellent news.  Many of you have been hoping (or praying) that the Office team would release a version of Outlook for the Windows RT devices.  This has to be good news for the masses.

Windows 8.1 Preview

Then, Jensen Harris (from the Windows User Experience team) posted a YouTube video to provide a Preview look at Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 Enterprise Capabilities


If the above highlights don’t have you excited, maybe the “What’s New For The Enterprise in Windows 8.1” will do it for you.  Read the article for all of the details that were shared; but the following were highlights I’m most excited about based on my dialogues with my customers.

Open MDM– While many organizations have investments with System Center and will continue to leverage these investments we also know that many organizations want to manage certain classes of devices, like tablets and BYOD devices, as mobile devices. With Windows 8.1, you can use an OMA-DM API agent to allow management of Windows 8.1 devices with mobile device management products, like Mobile Iron or Air Watch .

Web Application Proxy – The Web Application Proxy is a new role service in the Windows Server Remote Access role. It provides the ability to publish access to corporate resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as apply conditional access policies to verify both the user’s identity and the device they are using resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as verify the device being used before access is granted.

VPN – We have added support for a wider range of VPN clients in both Windows and Windows RT devices. We have also added the ability to have an app automatically trigger VPN connections.

Remote Business Data Removal – Corporations now have more control over corporate content which can be marked as corporate, encrypted, and then be wiped when the relationship between the corporation and user has ended. Corporate data can now be identified as corporate vs. user, encrypted, and wiped on command using EAS or EAS + OMA-DM protocol. This capability is requires implementation in the client application and in the server application (Mail + Exchange Server). The client application determines if the wipe simply makes the data inaccessible or actually deletes it.

Improved Internet Explorer – Internet Explorer 11 improvements include faster page load times, side-by-side browsing of your sites, enhanced pinned site notifications, and app settings like favorites, tabs and settings sync across all your Windows 8.1 PCs. Internet Explorer 11 also now includes capability that enables an antimalware solution to scan the input for a binary extension before it’s passed onto the extension for execution.

Assigned Access- With Assigned Access, a new feature offered in Windows 8.1 RT, Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Enterprise, you can enable a single Windows Store application experience on the device.  This can be things like a learning application for kids in an educational setting or a Customer Service application at a boutique, Assigned Access can ensure the device is delivering the intended experience. In our Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry product, we deliver additional lockdown capabilities to meet the needs of Industry devices like Point of Sale Systems, ATMs, and Digital Signs.

Boot to Desktop – we have made configuration options available which will allow you to boot directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1.

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