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Microsoft Surface: What's New?

Microsoft Surface: What's New?

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Amber King

Cloud Marketplace Lead

Here at Softcat I’m the new Modern Workplace Sales Specialist. I keep on top of the latest releases and updates relating to Surface, acting as an extension of Microsoft and making sure you and your organisation have access to the most up to date systems. I’ll be keeping a close eye on new announcements from Microsoft and making sure that you and your organisation have the solution that’s a best fit for your organisational needs.

Before we get down to product announcements, here are a couple of updates on activities we’re running, and new features within Microsoft's existing products.

Have you caught one of our Surface and Microsoft 365 Workshops?

Over the past six months we have been running several Surface and Microsoft 365 workshops, hosted at both our London and Manchester offices. These workshops are run by one of our internal technical architects, taking the form of one-to-one meetings and giving a hands-on demonstration of how the Microsoft 365 suite of products integrates with the Surface. These workshops give you the chance to demo the Surface family, which includes the Surface Pro, Surface Book, Surface Laptop, Surface Studio and when we get our hands on the new kit, will also include the Surface Go. These workshops are run over 4 hours covering an agenda which includes information about M365, EM&S and Windows 10 and how Surface is the best representation of these Microsoft products. If you would like to know more information about when these workshops are running to get yourself booked onto one, please contact your account manager and they will be able to provide you with dates and locations.

Are AutoPilot and Surface friends?

Surface now supports OEM integration with AutoPilot - this allows automatic registration of Surfaces when they are purchased from suppliers, meaning you can simply open the box, log in to your device and you’re ready to go. This is an important step towards automating the entire build and configuration process, improving the process of preparing devices for employees - the IT team won’t need to handle the device before it’s issued to end-users, it’ll be office-ready when it arrives. The Surface also aligns with the OEM hardening standards for a highly-secure Windows 10 device, allowing organisations to take advantage of all the advanced security features found within Windows 10 Enterprise. This dictate hardware must support specific virtualisation standards to ensure the TPM chipset aligns with certain security standards.

Microsoft have been working at updating two of their most popular products on the market - the Surface 2 Hub and the Surface Go. So, what are the big changes and why would you want to consider adding these to your organisation’s portfolio?

Should you go go go for the Surface Go?

Microsoft’s first new product announcement of the year is the release of the Surface Go, available for ordering in time for the new school year. Sitting at 10 inches, this is the smallest, lightest and most affordable Surface Microsoft have produced so far. It’s similar to the Surface Pro, with a detachable keyboard and lay-flat kickstand, but it’s retail price is much lower than the pro, bringing it much more in line with schools and their budgets, and it sits nicely with their ‘bring your own device’ policy. It’s an affordable alternative that we think is going to be a more affordable, go-to device for many teachers and students. We’ll also have some demo devices available shortly.

Will the second generation of the Surface Hub live up to the first?

The Surface 1 Hub was launched back in 2015 and since then we’ve seen how great it’s been at providing a simple and effective interactive audio conferencing system for organisations across a wide variety of industries. When Microsoft announced the new Surface Hub 2, we were excited to see the features and improvements of this intuitive screen, and how much it had stepped up from the first edition.

Microsoft are streamlining the offering, there’s one screen size – 50.5 inch – that can be combined with up to three additional screens in any configuration. They are flexible and adaptable to any space, you can use them in portrait or landscape mode and there’s the choice to use a single application, or four different applications across them. This gives you the opportunity to view documents on each screen, so you can look at documents, web browsers, and images when you’re working on a project. As it’s touchscreen you can also easily swipe between different pieces of work whilst you’re in a meeting or presenting, or just brainstorming on a big screen.

Microsoft have upped their game with this announcement, showing that they understand how the Modern Workplace has developed and is more important than ever to consider in design evolvements. Teams are now spread across different offices around the country, and even more so, around the world, and Surface Hub 2 allows everyone to interact and communicate more easily. The culture and environment of workplaces has shifted, and applications such as Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Whiteboard, Office 365 and Windows 10 all work together and listen to each other, promoting productivity and creativity. You can also make use of instant messaging, or share, and then edit the same document so it’s much easier to get everyone’s ideas in one place. Many organisations favour it for the videoconferencing, the Surface Hub 2 has a 4k camera, so when teams are international and located across offices, it’s much more interactive than getting on the phone.

The Surface Hub 2 isn’t available just yet, it’s due for release in 2019, so watch this space for updates.

Get in Touch

If you’d like to get in touch about any of these updates, or if you’re interested in finding out more about the Surface Go or Surface Hub 2, please get in touch using the button below, or if you’re an existing customer, reach out to your Softcat account manager.