Microsoft has given us a glimpse into the future and it is amazing. Between the Ignite Conference that is happening this week in Chicago and the Build Conference last week, Microsoft's vision for the future promises to transform the way people work and live.
Springhouse encourages you to reach out to us if you would like to start an early dialog about any of the technologies highlighted below specific to your organization. In addition to a Windows 10 event later this summer, we plan to host hands-on Microsoft Experience Center sessions where you can spend time interacting with Windows 10, Office 2016, SharePoint 2016 and more just as soon as they are made available to us.
The main component that brings all of Microsoft’s announcements over the last two weeks together is their new operating system – Windows 10. With Windows 10 Microsoft has created one OS that is capable of running on all devices. This includes traditional servers, PCs, mobile devices, Internet of Things devices, televisions, Xboxes, and Hololens. Developers will be able to write applications and the OS will deliver the best experience for the device it is running on.
We've been playing with Windows 10 in the office for the past couple of months and with the recent build it is beginning to feel like a finished product. The new OS blends the best features of Windows 7 and Windows 8 (yes, it does have good parts!) into a cohesive experience.
And with Windows 10 comes Microsoft Edge, Microsoft’s new web browser that is replacing Internet Explorer. In our testing, the performance of Edge is immediately noticeable in two areas: browsing speed and impact on system resources. At this point Edge is still very much beta software but it shows a ton of promise for the future of web browsing on Windows devices.
We are in the midst of planning a release party for Windows 10 that will take place at the Microsoft Technology Center in Malvern, PA later this summer - keep your eyes peeled for your invite!
A lot of emphasis was devoted to security in the Ignite keynote and Microsoft is giving IT professionals new ways to protect company data. There are new features like Data Leak Protection (baked into Windows 10). Data Leak Protection prevents users from copying and pasting company data into unauthorized applications. Microsoft demonstrated the protection by copying content from a work email and attempting to paste it into a tweet - all done on an iPad! If there is a legitimate need for such an action to occur, IT can allow for an override. In this configuration a warning is issued and an an audit trail provided.
Windows 10 will also debut file system encryption for documents as they are saved and Microsoft Passport, a technology that will replace passwords with biometrics. During the Windows 10 demo, Joe Belfiore unlocked his Windows 10 machine using facial recognition.
They also debuted Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA). According to Microsoft, "ATA helps IT security professionals identify security breaches and threats, using behavioral analysis and machine learning to provide clear, actionable information."
Microsoft technology is advancing the mobility of computing. In the very near future smartphone hardware will be powerful enough to support computing tasks for a majority of people. By leveraging the new Continuum feature being built into Windows 10, Microsoft envisions being able to dock your smartphone or tablet and transforming it into a full fledge desktop interface.
Data surrounds every aspect of our lives these days. From a business perspective, being able to tap into the data created by employees and customers, recognize trends, and gain insights is an absolute game changer.
Microsoft will be releasing SQL 2016, self-described as the "biggest breakthrough in DB technology" yet. The new version of SQL will allow for an infinite database that can easily be stretched from your data center to Azure with little to no effort. Speaking of Azure, it was also announced yesterday that with Microsoft Azure Stack you can have the Azure user experience in your own datacenter. According to Microsoft, "Built on the same core technology as Azure, Azure Stack extends Microsoft’s investments in secure, more flexible software-defined infrastructure."
This technology will be entering preview in the coming months.
Office 2016, Exchange 2016, and SharePoint 2016
Office 2016 looks to be the best version of Office yet. Some incredible features have been added to the suite of software that will reshape the way we work. Microsoft placed a lot of emphasis on teams in the workplace and many of the features they discussed are designed to facilitate team productivity. Real-time co-authoring that has been available in Office Online is now available on the desktop versions of Office 2016. This happens on a pixel by pixel level with no need to refresh to see new updates.
Plus, organization analytics are being introduced into Office Delve and provides insights into your organization at an unprecedented level.
Office 2016 entered into a broad public preview yesterday and is available to download and try for free.
Skype for Business has now gained the ability to broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 people. This is powered by Azure Media Services and works with streaming audio, video, and PowerPoint presentations.
Exchange 2016, which will enter preview later this year, brings features that debuted in Office 365 to on-premises installations and will provide enhancements in document collaboration, search, eDiscovery, and provide developer extensibility.
SharePoint 2016 was also showcased and will deliver new capabilities in the cloud through hybrid deployments with Office 365. Microsoft has stated this is the first on-premises version of SharePoint to be defined by the cloud and looks to contain a number of enhancements for both end users and IT professionals.
Finally, let’s end with the item that is the most ambitions in its intentions - Microsoft Hololens. In case you are not aware, Hololens is a self-contained Augmented Reality device. So rather than a true virtual reality experience, your current physical environment becomes enhanced. The uses for this technology are far ranging from fun and whimsical to revolutionary.
One potential business application of the technology demonstrated by Microsoft is the ability for architects to transform their two dimensional blue prints into a real environment that they can walk through and visualize the project, discovering potential issues before a shovel is even lifted. Watch for yourself below: