Bring on the store
The second significant step that Windows 8 brings is the Microsoft App Store. This is where developers will gain access to a wider market in order to sell their applications. Microsoft has made it a seamless process to deliver an application to the App Store right from Visual Studio. The App Store is designed to only deliver applications to Windows RT and not to the desktop. While this may limit the opportunity for some applications, it will provide smaller software houses with a sales pipeline they could never have created themselves. Enterprise developers do not have to deliver applications through the App Store, Instead, Microsoft has created a process that allows them to deploy enterprise ready applications direct to Windows RT devices. This creates a process challenge for the deployment teams since they will need to ensure that they test and approve applications and that all applications are signed. That said, it does however, open up an opportunity for enterprise IT to sell utilities and add-ons that have been developed internally through the App Store. While we don’t expect this to be a major revenue generator, it is an interesting proposition.
Value in push notification
Windows 8 is using the tiled interface first deployed on Windows Phone 7. This interface supports the use of a push notification mechanism within the operating system. There are several opportunities here. For information workers using Business Intelligence (BI) tools, changes to their queries can now be reflected in real-time to their device. This is not just about BI. Any application can be configured to use a tiled interface which means that application servers, firewall appliances, storage devices and even network switches can feed real-time data back to the administrator console. Another advantage here is that every server gets its own tile in Server Manager. This means that any changes to a server or any event log incidents now appears immediately in that server’s tile. Using a traditional dashboard, you could have scripted this but it was not simple. Another benefit of the tiled approach is that you can quickly scroll through large numbers of servers with a single stroke of the finger. This puts the datacentre at the fingertips of administrators, operators and management. It is likely that we will see this extended, as embedded devices that have been deployed in the field such as HVAC, power supplies and remote monitoring solutions start to use Windows 8.
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