Editor’s Note: Windows Phone 7, The Platform for a Mobile Workforce
The IT-friendly platform, built with business users in mind, is about to get better with new capabilities to integrate with Microsoft cloud platforms and services.
By Mitch Irsfeld
Your users have hit you with a seemingly out-of-control proliferation of consumer devices that want access to corporate data and services. Their reasoning—and it’s hard to argue against—is that these devices make them so much more productive in a mobile or remote setting that they would be at a competitive disadvantage without them.
It’s an accelerating trend that shows no sign of letting up. It’s the history of personal computing, in fact. But let’s face it; some devices just play better than others on a corporate network. From the beginning, Windows Phone 7 was designed to be deployed, managed and secured as a mobile client. Combine that with features that extend the Windows and Office experience and now your mobile workers can stay connected and access their applications and data as if they were local on the network.
In this edition of TechNet ON, we examine the current and upcoming features that make Windows Phone the easiest device to manage and the best device for accomplishing mobile tasks. To see why Windows Phone 7 is already a compelling business platform, check out Enterprises Go with Windows Phone 7 in TechNet Magazine.
“Mango” Makes it Sweeter
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 team revealed many of the new capabilities for the upcoming Windows Phone codenamed “Mango” during the recent Tech·Ed 2011 conference and we summarized those features in the TechNet Edge video Why Windows Phone in the Enterprise. Hear why new productivity capabilities such as Lync integration, server search, conversation view, and pinnable email folders make it easier to perform the tasks we’ve come to rely on in a connected corporate environment. In short, the Windows Phone 7 home screen is made for at-a-glance access to a wide range of data sources, instead of forcing the user into application navigation; simply pin critical services to Home and go.
Meanwhile, new management capabilities are on the way with System Center Configuration Manger 2012, such as complex (alpha-numeric) password support, information rights management support for protecting e-mails and Office documents, support for access to hidden Wi-Fi networks, and Exchange Active Sync management capabilities. In TechNet Magazine, Josh Hoffman looks at What’s New in Windows Phone 7 for IT Pros with a focus on new data protection and user productivity features coming in the “Mango” release.
Moreover, IT organizations will be able to deploy their own applications only to their employees via the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Speaking of those internal applications, your in-house developers have a lot to be excited about in Windows Phone “Mango.” Industry publication Network World recently talked to Windows Phone developers about their experience with the “Mango” beta in Developers find a lot to love in Windows Phone 7 Mango, and how the new APIs add power and ease app development.
If you are deploying cloud services, get the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 which includes Visual Studio project templates for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure, class libraries optimized for use on the phone, sample applications, and documentation.
You don’t have to wait for “Mango” to understand how to integrate the technologies that businesses already use while helping to support corporate security and management requirements. You can download the Windows Phone 7 Guides for IT Professionals to learn how to integrate and support Windows Phone 7 in your organization. Then read How Microsoft Deployed Windows Phone to Employees, coordinating with multiple organizations, including the Exchange Server, networking, and support teams.
One of the most compelling applications for Windows Phone “Mango” is Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud subscription service, currently in beta release (and due for general release later this month), which provides access to colleagues and business information through the cloud with your smartphone. Alan Meeus describes in his Windows Phone for IT Pros blog post how quick and easy it will be to connect to Office 365 with Windows Phone Mango.
When selecting a smart phone platform to support business users, look at how well it integrates with existing Windows infrastructures and how well it supports current collaboration needs. Then think about the productivity and collaboration possibilities powered by the cloud and Windows Phone 7 codenamed “Mango” is the platform for the mobile workforce.
Thanks for reading,
Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, including* InformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek*. He is also an editor for* TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.