Microsoft today made a flurry of announcements about new features in Windows 11 and other apps and services, saying the tweaks are designed to support better hybrid work environments.
The announcements, which appear to be incremental upgrades, have become part of “Windows powers the Future of Hybrid Work“virtual event.
The most notable change will provide tighter integration between Windows 11 and Windows 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based PC virtualization service. Referred to by some as “desktop as a service” (DaaS)Microsoft calls Windows 365 “Cloud PC” – that is, users get a complete Windows experience that can replace a Windows desktop on a PC.
Last August, Microsoft announced the general availability of its Windows 365 / Cloud PC servicewhich securely streams the entire Windows experience – including all apps, data, and settings – to a user’s personal or corporate devices.
Through Windows 365, Microsoft is taking a big step toward bringing Windows to the cloud, according to Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer for Windows & Devices.
Integration also includes Windows 365 Switch, a feature that allows users to switch between an example Cloud PC and an actual desktop PC with a single click. Windows 365 Boot allows users to boot directly to Windows 365 Cloud PC in one step. And Windows 365 Offline will finally allow users to work offline and then automatically synchronize without losing data as soon as they are back online.
“Synchronizing with the local computer would be of great use to those who need to work offline from time to time, but as more information is released there will be a clearer picture of costs, security and use cases,” he said. said Stu Downes, an analyst at research. Gartner firm covering workplace infrastructure and operations. “IT leaders need to be clear about the use cases for offline synchronization, as the main reason many organizations use VDI / DaaS is to avoid any endpoint data.”
Downs, however, said it was encouraging to see Microsoft continue to invest and drive new capabilities for DaaS with Windows 365.
“The continued emphasis and focus on virtualization from Microsoft gives commercial clients the confidence to invest in Desktop as a Service,” he said. “Gartner data shows that 72% of IT leaders plan to increase investment in DaaS.”
Panay said the new upgrades are just the beginning of Windows and Microsoft cloud integration.
Many of the other announcements made by Microsoft look more like incremental tweaks billed as the future of work – oriented tools, while Microsoft remained unclear as to when the upgrades would be generally available. A number, such as Clear Voice and Voice Focus, are expected to be launched in the “next few months.”
Microsoft has framed its video conferencing upgrades on the use of artificial intelligence (AI), saying that the upcoming features automatically frame a PC camera to refocus on a speaker, even if they move around. Vocal clarity, vocal focus, and background blur are designed to reduce visual and audio distractions in the background.
One new feature based on AI is “eye contact”; it is aimed at improving eye contact during virtual meetings and video calls so that the attendees appear to be staring at the camera instead of down or away from it.
The features have been implemented in conference solutions (including Teams) at various stages over the past two years, said Stephen Kleynhans, vice president at research firm Gartner.
“In fact, Teams were at the forefront of many of these aspects,” Kleynhans said. “What’s changing here is that these capabilities are moving into the OS, which in theory makes them more consistent, and better connected to the specific capabilities of the device.
“They should also be available across the various conference and communication tools we use on a daily basis. Ultimately this should help alleviate the problems that everyone faces when switching between different conference tools in different meetings throughout the day. “
Microsoft’s Windows 365 / Cloud PC is a cloud – based virtualization service that builds on – and complements – Azure Virtual Desktop. Windows 365 allows users to bring their Windows 10 or Windows 11 desktop, apps, tools, data, and settings to non-Windows devices, including PCs, Macs, iPads, Linux devices, and Android devices. Microsoft has positioned Windows 365 / Cloud PC as ideal for hybrid work situations such as remotely boarding / boarding employees, dial-up (and down) computing capability, securing cloud environments, and supporting a workforce that is growing and contracting – including those in the front line. work cases.
Microsoft also announced upgrades to File Explorer, its tool to allow users to quickly find files and pin them under specific tabs, bringing down what used to take six clicks down to one, according to Panay.
“The redesigned File Explorer, powered by cloud, makes it easier to find what you are looking for, allowing you to view all files in one centralized location,” said Panay.
Windows 11 will also add “contextual suggestions” powered by Context IQ to suggest relevant content and contacts across Windows – including cloud content.
“For example, I can see what files I may need, including files that my colleagues frequently work on that I also have access to,” Wangui McKelvey, general manager of Microsoft 365 , explained in a blog post. “With Tabs in File Explorer, I can multitask and find multiple files at once.”
Adding tabs allows you to open multiple folders in a single window. The Tabs feature was first tested in Windows 10 apps, under a feature called “Sets,” which included support for tabs inside File Explorer and tabs in all Windows apps. The technology was never incorporated into Windows 10.
“The File Explorer tabs are user-specific,” said Kleynhans. “Some people love tabs and think it’s a cleaner way to organize what they do. Others prefer multiple windows. The real point here is that you now have the choice. “
There are a number of tasks, such as dragging and dropping files between locations, that work well in “window mode,” Kleynhans said.
“Tabs, on the other hand, should give you the ability to have pen locations that you can quickly jump to (a work tab, or a project tab, or even a personal tab),” he said. “How well this works in practice will depend on the details of the implementation, which we have not yet seen.”
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Microsoft reinforces new hybrid work features in updates to Windows 11
Source link Microsoft reinforces new hybrid work features in updates to Windows 11