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Windows 10: A digital workers dream in NZ?

Three ways Windows 10 is great for the digital worker - and three questions still to answer.

Digital transformation will blur the lines between work and play. A digital worker won’t be tied to a desk, but instead use technology to be productive anywhere.

For me currently, working anywhere involves 3 different operating systems - Android, IOS and Windows devices used on a daily basis. This means I can’t be completely productive everywhere as my devices have different capabilities.

On July 29th, Microsoft say that Windows 10 will change that - and more. I've been exploring what it will mean for the digital worker of the future.

Three ways Windows 10 helps Digital Workers

1. Free upgrades to Windows 10 - and beyond

On Tuesday I noticed a notification on my Windows 8 tablet that I could register for my free upgrade on July 29th – and on my Windows 7 desktop too. This is a big tick in the box for having consistency across those devices.

Not only that, it could be the last big Windows upgrade I ever have to do. Microsoft have called Windows 10 “the last version of Windows” and that it would continue to support it in an “ongoing manner” with “incremental updates”.

2. Flexible options to access your digital world

Windows 10 finally runs the same apps on every device. There isn’t a special version for mobile devices anymore and devices like the Surface Pro 3 are gaining maturity.

Windows 10 even works with the X-Box for broadcasting multi-media and the HoloLens to project a holographic interface. Which might seem a bit gimmicky, but with some thought it will definitely have practical uses.

3. You can take your PC everywhere you go

As we move more to the cloud, the need for a really powerful computer is diminishing. As small as a smartphone, for example.

Microsoft see a time when your only PC will be your Windows 10 smartphone. You will place your smartphone onto a charging pad and connect wirelessly to the screen, mouse and keyboard.

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Three questions I have about Windows 10:

1. Does the operating system matter anymore?

Microsoft have opened up Office 365 and even the Windows 10 poster-child Cortana to Android and IOS devices. I think this is a great move, but does it de-value the Windows operating system?

We can get a lot of the Microsoft experience on whatever device they choose. Will there be enough reasons to want an end-to-end Microsoft experience?

2. Will it beat the “app gap”?

Microsoft is still facing an uphill battle for mobile device market share and also for apps in its store. Windows 10 unites the desktop and mobile stores and hopes to attract developers as a result.

As well as better tools for developers to write programs for Windows 10, Microsoft have also released tools to migrate apps from Android and IOS.

But, even though they are far behind – how many apps do people really need? I think that quality is already more important than quantity of apps. To date, Microsoft has lacked some apps I really want; it will be interesting to see if this changes.

3. Will Cortana really predict our needs?

Cortana is a “Digital Personal Assistant” that you can use to search and also to schedule tasks or setting changes. Cortana is designed to learn about you to help out – such as tell you when to travel in the screenshot above.

Based on where you are now, where you are going and the travel conditions, Cortana predicts when it’s time to leave for Nancy’s birthday.

Note: I’m assuming it’s “birthday” and not “birth”. If Cortana can predict the time to leave for a birth, that’s a bit creepy.

Cortana is Microsoft’s solution to the information overload we are all dealing with now. As we become increasingly time-poor, Microsoft plans to bring timely, relevant information to us.

But…

At launch, voice commands for Cortana won't be available outside the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. It will also take time to understand the New Zealand accent and no word when it will work here yet.

The BETA version of Cortana has had some mixed reviews on how accurate and useful it is. Given that I’ve found Google Now to be a bit hit-and-miss, I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve used Cortana a bit.

Digital transformation with Windows 10

It looks like Windows 10 will be what Windows 8 was aiming for. A single operating system for all devices, deeply connected to the cloud and a consistent experience to use everywhere.

Thinking about the “big 4” technology trends that underpin digital transformation – Windows 10 ticks all the boxes. Social is inherent, it's built for Mobility (as long as there are enough apps), Cortana brings the Analytics and it’s deeply connected to the Cloud.

From a technology standpoint, for me it looks like a great option for the digital worker. But, the other key hallmark of the digital age is that the user has all the demands and all the power. Can Microsoft get enough people to love the experience?

By David Reiss - Thought Leader for Digital Transformation at Spark Digital