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Tuesday, 16 June 2015 08:02

Windows 10: Is this the one we've been waiting for?

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At the last major Microsoft conference in May ‘Build 2015’, most of the attention was on the upcoming release of Windows 10. It is without doubt the major Microsoft product launch of 2015.

And now it is official. The release date of Windows 10 has been confirmed as 29th July.

With less than two months to go, we are well into speculating, along with all the other tech press & observers, about what is to come. Is Windows 10 going to materially impact the way we work and manage our IT? Will it be the last major Windows version we’ll have to move on to? Is it finally ‘the one’ we’ve been waiting for?

As we get closer to the release date, Microsoft is beginning to slow down their Technical Preview updates, but here are some of our observations about what’s to come…

The Start Menu is Back.

For those who’ve experienced Window 8, you’ll understand that with the 2012 release, Microsoft really did not pay enough attention to its users, applying fundamental changes to the UI (User Interface) which were not intuitive and difficult to master. Users were left frustrated, having to spend their working day figuring out how to use the system that should be helping them be more productive.

One of those key UI errors was removing the Start menu, which we have come to rely on much more than we think it would seem. So much so, that 3rd party software houses have profited from re-inserting it back into Windows 8 – a nice little earner. Meanwhile, Microsoft released Window 8.1 to fix the problem themselves.

But the best way to learn is from your mistakes, and the healthy competition from Linux, Google and Apple doesn’t do progress any harm either. So Windows 10 promises to be much more user-centric, innovatively building upon the usability and familiarity of Windows 7. And that all starts with putting the Start Menu back.

Meet Cortana, your very own ‘I-PA’.

Dubbed the old ‘Office Paperclip on steroids’, Cortana will be your Intelligent Personal Assistant in Windows 10. Named after an AI character in the video game Halo, you can communicate with her through the old fashioned method of typing on your keyboard or alternatively she operates through speech recognition, which is impressive as Windows 10 will be available in 111 languages.

Importantly, she will have a powerful search capability deeply integrated with files, applications (not just Microsoft ones) and the internet at large via Microsoft’s replacement of Internet Explorer, ‘Microsoft Edge’.

It does sound excitingly futuristic, but much like Siri and OK Google, it’s hard to visualise how one would interact with their Cortana in the workplace on a daily basis. It will depend on her effectiveness but ultimately on our cultural acceptance of her. Will asking her to check your calendar and book meeting room 101 be easier than doing it yourself? Can she really book your train tickets and your restaurants for you? Do you need her to tell you what the weather is like outside? And when you are dictating your notes to her via your headphones, will your colleagues look at you in the same way pedestrian commuters do their fellow Segway and Solowheel travellers - yes technically it’s more efficient, but you do look a bit funny.


Read 1579 times Last modified on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 09:57
Alan Yin, Senior Infrastructure Consultant at Plan-Net

Alan is one of our Infrastructure Consultants at Plan-Net.

Alan has worked in IT since 2003 starting off in the public health sector and moving on to being Senior Enterprise Engineer for an aviation company based in Heathrow.

He began his role in the Consultancy team at Plan-Net in November 2012.

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