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Windows RT 8.1 in the Enterprise

Introduction

With the release of Windows RT 8.1, new capabilities and features requested by enterprises have been added to the Windows RT platform, including:

  • Improved e-mail, with the addition of a full-featured version of the Outlook 2013 client used by so many enterprises today, as well as greatly enhanced versions of the built-in Mail, Calendar, and People apps.
  • Better connectivity to corporate networks, with built-in VPN clients for Microsoft (Windows Server), F5, Juniper, Check Point, and Dell SonicWall infrastructures.
  • Enhanced manageability, through open and expanded mobile device management (MDM) support built into the operating system (leveraged by Windows Intune as well as third-party MDM tools).
  • App platform enhancements, adding support for specialized USB peripherals used in many point-of-sale, data collection, and other specialized line-of-business scenarios.  This can be combined with Assigned Access, which allows a device to be configured to run a single app.
  • New offline data synchronization options, enabling full disconnected use with SkyDrive and Work Folders.
  • New security capabilities, with device registration through Workplace Join, remote business data removal if devices are lost or stolen, and many additional security improvements throughout the Windows RT 8.1 operating system.
  • Enablement of new hardware features, with support for integrated biometrics, wired Ethernet, Miracast wireless displays, mobile broadband (3G/4G), high DPI displays, smaller device form factors, and near-field communication (NFC).
  • Usability improvements, with refinements to the Start Screen experience, more consistency in app behaviors, and better discoverability in the UI, as well as new training and help tutorials.

These changes mean that Windows RT 8.1 can be used in a broader set of enterprise scenarios than were possible with the original Windows RT release. Specifically, we believe that devices with Windows RT 8.1 are particularly well-suited for a few key scenarios:

  • Companion devices. For those that have an existing desktop or laptop that is used for their primary business tasks, a Windows RT 8.1 tablet is well-suited for use as a lightweight companion device – in meetings, at home, while traveling, and so on.
  • Line-of-business uses. Many businesses create apps for specific purposes, then need devices that run only those apps. Because Windows RT 8.1 devices are low-cost, lightweight, and have long battery life, they are well-suited for these line-of-business app scenarios.
  • Primary device replacements, for a limited subset of business users. Some employees (for example some business executives) may not require the power or capabilities of existing laptop or desktop PCs. As long as they have access to the general productivity functionality (for example, Office, Outlook, and the web) needed for their day-to-day work, a Windows RT 8.1 device may have everything they need.

You may find additional or different scenarios in your business; every user is different, and every scenario may have different requirements. Consider your key capabilities (as described in this document) and choose a device based on those specific needs.