Build 2017: Prepare for an Ecosystem of Devices Connected Through Windows
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Build 2017: Prepare for an Ecosystem of Devices Connected Through Windows

There is a broad message from last week's event that will impact IT pros and system admins.

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During Build 2017, which was held in Seattle last week, there were plenty of sessions that talked about how new tools and services could impact your companies DevOps approach to managing your own applications and services.

Many of these DevOps related sessions are already online at the Channel 9 Build Event website and others will be coming online shortly so there is plenty for you to watch and catch up on for sure.

However, I think there is a broader message from last week's event that will impact you as IT Pros and System Admins and you will need to start looking at these changes early in order to be ready when your users come forward and ask for these capabilities.

It was the Build 2017 Day Two keynote led by Microsoft Executive Vice President Terry Myerson and other members of the Windows and Devices Group presented about the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Their message was simple - any ecosystem of devices will be better if there is a Windows device connecting them together.

By using Cortana as the connectivity between devices they want to enable end users to have access to all of their data on any of these devices along with the capability to pick up where they were at anytime, on any device, and any program/app.

Some work has already been in place for this and with the Creators Update, which was released back in April, users can already take advantage of a small element of the Pick Up Where You Left Off feature. Currently that enhancement will show you websites and work you were doing on another device within 30 minutes of logging in on another device with the same Microsoft Account.

Here is what that looks like in the Action Center:

Pick Up Where You Left Off on Creators Update

Pick Up Where You Left Off via Cortana on Windows 10 Creators Update

When this feature expands in the Fall Creators Update, which is expected around September of this year, it will be named Timeline and become more like ALT+TAB on steroids because the feature will show the user what they have been working on across all of their devices. It will also extend to and from iOS, Android, Windows 10 Mobile devices, and of course other Windows 10 devices. Users will also still see items on Cortana using the Pick Up Where You Left Off feature as they do now in the Creators Update.

Based on the images in the demos at Build 2017, it appears Timeline will be a full screen transparent overlay interface to review those items. You will also see that it appears other widgets will be available, such as weather, for quick access to that type of information.

Pick Up Where You Left Off in Fall Creators Update

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update - Timeline

Another feature that will connect data across the devices in a users ecosystem will be a universal clipboard. We have seen official and unofficial attempts at this over the last couple of years and it looks like it is finally coming to Windows 10 in the Fall Creators Update.

During the keynote this was referred to as the Cloud-powered Clipboard and in the associated blog post from the Windows team it is called simply Clipboard. No matter what the official name is, this is a clipboard that will give you access to the different things you copy to your devices clipboard across all of your connected devices. Once again, I believe Cortana and a Microsoft Account is going to provide the channel between devices since it already has the ability to identify what mobile devices are tied with your Microsoft Account.

Cloud-powered Clipboard

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Cloud-powered Clipboard

If someone works from multiple devices and needs this info on another device that means it will be accessible without needing to email images or links to yourself. This feature will also be integrated into the various Office apps/programs to facilitate easy access to that data across devices.

For your users who need access to Linux it is now going to be even easier to get that support to them through the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) as Ubuntu is now available through the Windows Store. Very soon SUSE Linux and Fedora Linux will also become available through the Windows Store for the ease of managing them within WSL.

WSL on Windows 10

Windows Subsystem on Linux (Ubuntu, SUSE, and Fedora Shells)

As you can see, there is a tremendous focus on a users ecosystem and stable of devices and it does not matter what platform they are on be it iOS, Android, or Windows. The Redmond company believes that users need/should have access to their data and work across those devices in a seamless way and these changes are the steps they are taking to start that transition.

If you want to learn more be sure to check out the Build 2017 Day Two keynote video on-demand, read the announcement blog post about the Fall Creators Update and these features, and join the Windows Insider Program to get early access to these capabilities to begin testing them in your organization. Consumer and Business variations of the Windows Insider programs are available.

This article originally appeared on IT Pro.


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