Microsoft had announced earlier this month some of the consumer-oriented features coming in Windows 8.1. Today, at TechEd North America, Microsoft’s annual conference for IT professionals, the company outlined some of the business-oriented features of Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 introduces new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities, many of them geared toward the “bring your own device” trend.
Among the features:
* New networking capabilities that take advantage of NFC-tagged and Wi-Fi connected devices, including NFC tap-to-pair printing, Wi-Fi direct printing that doesn’t need additional drivers and broadband tethering.
* Security enhancements including support for fingerprint-based biometrics and easier use of multi-factor authentication using virtual smart cards.
* Manageability features such as allowing IT departments to control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices and remote business data removal.
There will also be a version of Windows Embedded 8.1, called Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry. A public preview of this will be released at Build, Microsoft’s conference for third-party developers, on June 26.
Al Hilwa, an analyst with research firm IDC sent out a note with his thoughts on the updates. He said:
You get a sense that Windows 8.1 is now accommodating businesses in a more serious way, instead of purely targeting consumers. Windows has always been a consumer and enterprise offering, but it was no secret that Windows 8 was targeted at the consumer space. Now, much deeper manageability and accommodation for enterprises looking to migrate out of XP. This is Microsoft’s market to lose, and they are appear to be pulling all the stops for it.