Thursday, July 30, 2015

WINDOWS 10 – What’s New??

Microsoft made it clear that Windows 10 is in the very early stages. There are likely many new features to come—and many improvements to the interface beyond what we see today (the Charms bar, for example, will likely change, according to Microsoft).
Some new features, which haven’t been mentioned before, include a full-screen start menu, a new action centre for interacting with notifications in a sidebar area, and a brand new settings experience where you can quickly tweak your system settings. Microsoft believes its new operating system is such a major step forward from Windows 8, that it skipped Windows 9 entirely. With a single design for devices ranging from smartphones to PCs, Windows 10 combines key functions from each of the major platforms.
Windows 10 also features a “Continuum” feature for computers that double as laptops and tablets. You can move around with a mouse and keyboard, but when you switch into tablet mode, Windows 10 will prompt you if you’d like to operate the device as a tablet. Tap the Start menu, for example, and it will automatically switch into a more touch-friendly full-screen mode.
Some of those features have already been discussed, and Microsoft covered new ones as well that are coming to the preview over the next 3-5 months. That includes Cortana for Windows 10, which is the first time the voice assistant is coming to the desktop. Cortana will exist in the search bar at the bottom left-side of your machine, where she can be called up by voice through the “Hey Cortana” command, and where pop-up notifications from Cortana will be displayed. Cortana can also be used to search OneDrive, your hard drive and more. You don’t always need to use voice, either, as you can also type out commands for Cortana inside the search bar.
What does Windows 10 Fix?
Migrations started to get a lot better with Windows 7, but they are brilliant with Windows 10. You basically log in with your Microsoft -- or if you're on a work PC, your work ID -- and all of your settings, apps and personalities transfer down from the server (be aware that this doesn't apply to legacy apps or if you are coming from Windows XP).
Once on Windows 10, getting one, two or six PCs is login-easy, and as you move to the newer apps, the experience is similar to what you currently get with iOS or Android. You buy a new PC, log in, and after a short wait, your new PC looks like your old one.
The even bigger move, at least when it comes to creating a reliable product, is that those of us testing Windows 10 automatically will get upgraded to the final version with Windows Update. Since we started with a valid version of Windows 7 or 8, we still get a free upgrade to Windows 10 without having to figure out what happened to our old Windows disks.
This means more of us actually are using Windows 10 in production, and that the number of testers Microsoft thinks it has internally and externally is one hell of a lot closer to the number it actually does have. I do think it is likely going to take a while for some people to break a decades-old habit of using two machines, but it is still a huge step in the right direction.
Most interesting features of Windows 10
Made for Enterprise
Windows 10 is stated to be Microsoft's "greatest enterprise platform ever”. The operating system's four enterprise values.
First, there's compatibility "with all the traditional management systems used today." Second, there's the customised store. Third is the quite excellent addition of data security by separation of corporate and personal information. And finally there's productivity, something that Windows 10 is heavily geared towards.
Windows 10 task view allows you to access multiple desktops. Joe Belfiore, the man behind Windows Phone, said Microsoft has "embraced the idea of productivity for the widest scale of Windows users." The centrepiece of this feature is multiple desktops. Users launch on the desktop task view, which opens multiple miniature windows at the bottom of the interface that shows all apps currently open.
The new 'Snap Assist' UI allows users to then grab apps from multiple desktops, meaning users can do things faster and easier.
The emphasis on productivity is equally served by a more seamless integration of touch and keyboard functionality. Windows 10 adds Continuum, a feature which allows users of 2-in-1 devices to switch between touch and keyboard inputs easily.
Windows 8 had confusing user experience when launching modern apps. It's a merging of Windows 7 and the few good things of Windows 8, chief among them Touch. The Charms bar will continue to exist on touch systems, but will be adapted.
And that's not all for improved keyboard use. Command prompt has been made easier and more powerful. Users can now paste in directories into command prompt with Ctrl+V instead of having to trigger a context menu and hit the specific paste option.
Windows Insider Program
Microsoft also announced the launch of its Windows Insider Program, designed to get feedback from users on how to improve Windows 10.
Forums will be set up for insiders to discuss technical issues and ideas, and engineers will be made available to consult with. The presentation urged users to become insiders and participate in building "a product that all of customers will love." The programme is pitched in at technology enthusiasts, for "people who know DLL is not the new OMG."
To Conclude:
With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to keep some of the touch and tablet features it created for Windows 8, combine them with the familiar Start menu and desktop, and run it all on top of an improved operating system with more security, a new browser, the Cortana assistant, its own version of Office for on-the-go editing and plenty of new features intended to make life simpler. Of course, that also means it's very different to use, whether you come from Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows XP. You have to look in a new place even to turn your PC off.
On top of that, Windows 10 is more than just a PC operating system; it's also what will run on Windows phones – and on small tablets as well, because a 6-inch phone and a 7-inch tablet aren't such very different devices. Microsoft is expecting people to put Windows 10 on a billion devices (which ought to encourage more app developers to at least take a look at building their apps for Windows phones and tablets, as well as for Xbox One and HoloLens).
Windows 10

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Product Development trends that are here to stay!!

When it comes to new product development in any organization with digital in mind, one has to really stay on top of technology trends and also ahead in the market competition. Many a times first mover advantage plays a vital role in the success of your product and can give you the edge in competition. However technology is always changing and some of the key trends to look out for in your product development strategy can be put in 4 broad categories:
  1. Data
  2. User Experience
  3. Smart Phone Capabilities
  4. Security
Data – Big data has been talked about a lot and gotten a lot of hype throughout 2014 in the world of technology. The question here for product managers with digital products is about data; type of data and extent of it; what data are you currently gathering today and what data should you be gathering? Basing this in how you can actually use this data really helps in capturing more and more useful data. Today, data has more value than ever before. What data do you have that could be used in unique and useful ways to provide value to your business and your customers? What challenges that your customers face could you answer with data? These are the questions you should be thinking about and brainstorming with your teams throughout 2015.
User Experience – The user experience side of software products is critical. Things have shifted in the last few years where today the majority of people want self-serve solutions to quickly solve their service problems. They don’t want to have to call a human being (or chat) and you don’t want that either. However, to make this happen your web and mobile products must be intuitive and easy to use. This has always been the case, but as more and more of your customers come to rely on your products, you need to make this a top priority. You need to not only plan for a great experience up front, but you also must be measuring the experience (abandon rates, usage, etc.) so that you can continually improve the experience based on what is and isn’t working. You must leverage data to study how users are using your product, what is engaging to them and what actions they are taking so you can work to constantly make that experience better.
Smart Phone Capabilities – This continued trend should come as no surprise to anyone, especially after the influx of smart phone users over the past few years. The use of smartphones have been on constant rise.  The smartphone world is expanding at a rapid pace. There are more than a billion smart phone users across the world. Today, there are people who never go to your web application from a desktop – they only use your mobile app or site, and this number continues to climb upwards. You need to think mobile first and how your product can be used effectively by a mobile audience. Beyond making functionality work on a mobile device, you also need to consider crossovers and transitions: For example, when a customer is using multiple devices (web and phone for example) is the transition between using one device and another seamless? If the user starts using your product on their phone and then switches to a computer, does the system make that as seamless as possible for the user?
Security – From Target and Sony to eBay, big companies had embarrassing security breaches in 2014. These breaches of such well-known brands have since put security front and centre in people’s minds. You need to make sure that your products are secure- that they can withstand everything from a denial of service attack (even at the API level) to hacks.
Longer term trends
These trends may not be here today, but you can rest assured that they are coming. This means you should be experimenting with them now so that you are ready to hit the ground running when these trends become mainstream. This should involve thought experiments where the logic is considered, if X existed, how it would impact my product, to actual small experimentation using these technologies. You can also create a cutting edge reputation by being an early mover with these trends.
In no particular order, we start with wearables and watches. Unless you are in the fitness/sports industry, in which case these are things you should have incorporated today, these need to be observed closely. We will soon learn if Apple can do to smart watches what they have done with music players, phones and tablets. Even if they aren’t as successful, there are going to be a lot of smart watches in the near future. It is important to begin thinking about how your interface and functionality can change to take advantage of something on your wrist and always on.
The Internet of things, or as we like to think of it, sensors everywhere. As sensors become cheaper and more powerful you are seeing them come up all over the place. This produces a ton of data and allows physical items to be integrated further with digital products. Not all products will need sensors, but those that do will have a lot more data to use to provide insight, recommendations and ultimately, value. This integrates nicely with the data trend mentioned above.
Virtual Reality and head mounted displays could change how we view and interact with our digital products. There is a lot of activity here but most is early on. Google Glass has been met with some harsh reviews and feedback, but Google is one to learn from this feedback and come out with a much better product. Then there is Facebook’s Oculus Rift, which may come out this year, and Samsung has their Gear VR. Initially, these will be used for gaming, but we should be exploring how interfaces could change and be made to allow browsing and viewing data in virtual worlds. This won’t happen quickly, but this has the potential to unlock us from being tied to our computer screens.
This leads to the biggest long-term trend; the digitization of everything, or the merging of the digital and physical world. This has been going on for years and we are entering the next big phase being driven by 3-D printers. We are seeing more and more these worlds coming together. Virtual Reality should accelerate this. In the meantime, what isn’t digital will go digital and everything will have sensors recording data.
Although we can’t 100% predict which trends will be the biggest, it is clear that technology continues to grow and be a part of the daily lives of your users. In order to stay ahead of your competitors, it is vital to consider these trends and start thinking about the impact they can have on both your business, and your customers. It is critical to spend time planning and thinking about the future and ensuring that you have a clear and executable strategy to differentiate your product and your business.