Following on from the launch of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, Microsoft pushed the new OS for enterprise users at the CeBIT exhibition in Hannover, Germany today.
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner began his keynote speech by extolling the ‘explosion’ of devices, consumerization, big data and cloud. “In the enterprise, the job of the CIO is continuing to evolve, and for the first time of the history of technology, and the end-user has more capability in his pocket or on his body than he does in the workplace," said Turner.
Turning to consumerization, Turner said that ‘all companies’ must embrace the new trend, and said that trends like this and bring-your-own device are encouraging CEOs to put ‘immense pressure’ on CIOs to push ahead with technological advancements. Indeed, Turner event suggests that the job role of the CIO is quickly becoming the ‘chief innovation officer’.
Turner went onto speak about the emergence of the private, hybrid and public clouds, and revealed that Microsoft is seeing a big drive for uptake in the private and hybrid clouds, with the latter enabling businesses to manage some or all of worker content stored in the cloud.
As he was signing off, Turner echoed the sentiments of Steven Sinofsky at the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in Barcelona, by saying that Microsoft is ‘unifying’ the operating system user experience, and promoted Windows 8 as an ‘OS with not compromises or trade-offs'.
Erwin Visser, a senior director for Windows, then came to the stage promoting a ‘faster and more fluid’ Windows which will be able to offer the convenience and mobility of the tablet, with the productivity and power of the desktop.
Visser extolled previously aired thoughts on Windows 7 compatibility, the Metro style apps, the picture-based log-in feature and flexible ‘live’ Windows apps, before briefly showing the swiping web browsing controls for Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) on a Windows 8 tablet. He also demonstrated the new Bing financial app, spoke how users can dock the Windows 8 tablet for full mouse and keyboard control, and revealed that two documents can be worked on in a dual-screen format at the same time. “With this, you could – for example – keep track of financial results, while working on a Word or Excel sheet”, said Visser.
The Microsoft spokesman went onto show Windows To Go, a new technology which enables PC users to boot directly from a USB flash drive acting as their primary hard drive. Visser said it’s a way of keeping corporate data secure, and showed how it can give a Windows 7 Ultrabook (in conjunction with some kind of encryption, like Bitlocker), as used for the demonstration, full Windows 8 capabilities.
The demo showed the same start-up features (minus the photo log-in because the Ultrabook is not touch-enabled), and revealed that, should the USB stick become detached, the system gives the user 60 seconds to reconnect the thumb drive before the system crashes. A video which was running before the disconnection can be resumed from where it left off as soon as the USB stick is reconnected. If the system does crash, Visser stressed that there will be ‘no footprint’ from the USB device, an ‘important feature for corporate users’.
“Windows To Go is a great feature for the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend and can act as a great backup solution for those who are travelling”, said Visser.
Turner returned to the stage to finish the talk, and proclaimed Windows 8 to be arguably the most important operating system Microsoft has ever developed. “Windows 8 will change the face of computing for consumers and enterprise, and we will look back at it as one of the most important, if not the most important, operating system we’ve ever had the privilege of developing”.