The big Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coming on August 2, and more than 350 devices will be eligible for the upgrade at no cost. If your organization is using Windows 10, several new features are on the way that should help your teams be more productive and efficient.
Here are four new features to look for:
Ability to access Cortana from the lock screen.
This is a feature I’ve been waiting for, as it has several practical applications for workplace environments. The update will allow users to access Cortana (Windows’ virtual assistant) without unlocking their laptops, tablets or mobile phones.
So, for example, if you’re in a meeting, you can have Cortana set a reminder, track flights, launch programs or look up information online, all without touching the device. You can also have Cortana send notifications across your Cortana-enabled devices. So if you look up directions while using a meeting-room computer, Cortana can send it to your Windows phone, too.
This feature isn’t a game-changer. It’s similar to what Amazon has already done with Echo, and what some Android devices can already do. But it will save time and make life a little easier, and I’m all for that efficiency.
Use Cortana to remember specific info.
I expect this feature to be a win for business travelers. Cortana will now be able to save and recall specific information, such as:
Where you parked your car at the airport
A frequent flier number
An address, phone number or other contact info
Essentially anything you ask it to remember
For those who are more visual, Microsoft says you’ll be able to add photos to make these reminders more visually memorable. Let’s say you’re at a trade show, and someone snaps a photo of you with some other industry players. You could theoretically use Cortana to save the image with the names of those reps, so you can recall them more easily when you eventually contact them after the trade show has ended.
This is another handy feature that ultimately saves time and makes common tasks more efficient.
Some of you may already have early access to Windows Ink, but in August, it goes mainstream. On Windows 10 devices, you’ll be able to use a stylus to take notes, sketch on top of images, create sticky notes, or draw out ideas.
You’ll be able to make notes virtually anywhere on the screen, or add them to a full page of sketches. Certain apps will have ink-specific capabilities, such as creating routes in Maps or using the handwriting feature in Office.
Power efficiency improvements to Microsoft Edge.
Several updates are coming to Microsoft’s Edge browser, but the one that sticks out to me is the power efficiency improvement.
Microsoft says that updates to Edge will significantly improve battery life. The browser will now use fewer CPU cycles, consume less memory, and will minimize the drain from background applications.
Time will tell just how significant these battery life enhancements are, but I look forward to any improvement in this area. The longer that teams can keep working – on the road, in meetings or simply while they’re away from workstations – the more productive they are.
One final note: If your organization hasn’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, you may want to consider it soon. Microsoft is ending its free upgrade offer on July 29, just days before the Anniversary Update becomes available.
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