There are advantages to having one Windows operating system across the diversity of devices with the cloud, with productivity improvements for all platforms and environments, mobile applications and mobile foremost for enterprises and this fact was further cemented with the newly released build 10051 of Windows 10 technical preview for phones. Some of the new additions, updates and capabilities are outlined below. In addition, Janet Kennedy, Microsoft Canada Presidents share her views on trends impacting you.

For this release, the number of devices was expanded including: Lumia 1020, 1320, 1520, 520, 525 526, 530 (and dual sim), 535, 620, 625, 630 (and dual sim), 635, 636, 638, 720, 730 (and dual sim), 735, 810, 820, 822, 830, 920, 925, 928; Microsoft Lumia 430, 435 (and dual sim, dual sim DTV), 532 (and dual sim), 640 dual sim, 535 dual sim.

Though work is still progressing with Cortana, most notably blue-tooth interactions in the technical preview, it’s worth spotlighting the inherent artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities as many are not familiar with these features to be found in the final version of Windows 10. In addition, AI is increasingly integrated into Bing predictions capabilities and the cloud in Azure with machine learning, analytics tools and the acquisition of Revolution Analytics closing last week–their R programming language the most widely used for statistical computing and predictive analytics.  With the looming digital quake, these areas must be embraced by enterprises to succeed. Cortana offers capabilities of a digital assistant more advanced than its competitors Siri and Google Now.

Like a human assistant, Cortana maintains an editable notebook of areas important to you such as interests, reminder items, quiet hours, your inner circle, music searches, your name, data embedded in social media like Facebook. Cortana can give you reminders to take action when you reach a destination, provide you direct answers, launch apps and gives you control over its knowledge about you. Cortana provides you a daily digest of areas important to you such as headline news and weather through Daily Glance. You can converse with Cortana by saying Hey Cortana, have her call you by name and even summon jokes. Cortana understands you and grows masterful with time by scanning your email as an example. Cortana can help you with your fitness routine, give you travel information with reminders and travel times, find and play music, show you photos, give you reminders based upon conditions being met. Sounds like a precursor to the personal assistant in the movie, HER.

The addition of Project Spartan is a fast, compatible, secure, reliable and interoperable browser with new rendering engine that will yield future improvements for the modern web— is an essential for the enterprise and the reality to grow the use case for IT professionals and enterprise users. I spend every day on a browser and this experience is common and repeated across devices. I spend as much time on a tablet as a phone and notebook. Project Spartan addresses this usage with many features. You can write/type on a webpage and share. Reading List allows collection of content you want to save and read later. Reading view permits reading without distractions. Spartan exists side-by-side with IE11, the implementation scenario for enterprises is that you need both for a time. Since Spartan is not the default, you can pin it to the Start Screen from the All Apps list.

Windows 10 has the new built-in universal apps the work across devices (and again has my vote) with Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar, toggling to easily move between apps and connects to most major systems including Exchange,, Office 365, IMAP/POP, Yahoo!, Gmail, Google Calendar. Outlook Mail takes your long experiences with MS Word speeding email creation—I am all for this after spending too much of my time in email! With the wide proliferation and acceptance of touch as the default experience, swipes are in your vocabulary of gestures and you can use them to delete, move, and more.

With the new phone and messaging apps, you can move from a messaging dialogue to a voice call by clicking the phone icon. Pretty handy with both activities so common. Never thought this would happen having been in business so long but I spend time equally in messaging as with voice.

Managing your contacts across major services inside and outside of Microsoft is easier with the universal People app and this fact is just going to increase rapidly.

There is a single universal app integrating capabilities with Bing Maps and Here maps. By holding the back button, you can see your recently used apps with the updated app switcher. Since the program is actively working to improve the user experience known issues are continually being updated and improved.

All of this this very much aligns with extracts from my recent chat with Microsoft Canada President, Janet Kennedy.  I will share more of my conversation in upcoming articles.

Q: Effectively we are all consumers. What are the trends you see in consumer technology that also impacts SMBs and enterprises?

A:  “There’s lots coming to market and lots in the market right now. One of our hottest areas for SMBs is the cloud – when you look at something like Office 365, or perhaps one of our disaster recovery and backup solutions, this is way to reduce costs for SMBs and get them current immediately.

The other really exciting piece in Canada is the Surface tablet technology, which has been strong across the country. This summer we’re launching Windows 10, our new operating system that will help with mobility, ease of use and security, but also give the look and feel that many people are comfortable with, such as the start screen and other capabilities they’ve had from the past. It’s a big year for us from both SMBs up to the biggest commercial and government customers.”

Q: What are the key trends for SMBs and enterprises and how can executives best prepare?

A:  “We have a new CEO, Satya Nadella, he’s actually been with the company for 22 years and came up from the MSN and our Azure and cloud side, so he absolutely knows how to run massive-scale hyper-clouds globally.

One thing that’s been very interesting is that he’s very much supportive of collaboration and cross-platform partnerships. So, for example, in his first 14 months in the role we have offered up Office for iPad and iOS, we have our Skype Translator services all cross-platform. We just announced a brand new Azure app development platform, a way that you can quickly make mobile applications that again will go cross-platform.

We also just announced Office 2016 for Mac for the Apple platform. I think what’s important is listening to customers. From a company perspective, we want our incredible experiences to be used when and where a customer wants to use them.

If you are running multiple devices like many of us have, it’s important that you have the same rich experience across platforms.

It’s fun to be in this place. When I look at my role, I’ve been in Canada about 18 months – and at that time I wasn’t meeting with some of the people I meet with today. I wasn’t spending as much time at the start-up and incubator communities as I am today. There’s so much opportunity for us to get the economy going.”

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