clip_image002The Wall Street Journal’s iconic technology reviewer Walter Mossberg predicts that the Windows 8 operating system that we launched last week is ‘pretty radical’ and ‘even bigger’ than Microsoft’s first attempt to rethink its operating system back in 1995.

Well, we will let you be the judge of all that after you give it a try, but what we can say is that many of our partners and customers are already be on board with the Windows 8 applications!

We are seeing Windows 8 applications being released that allow Utility customers to manage their energy contracts, analyze enearcgisrgy consumption, submit their own electricity and gas readings, and applications that provide quick and simple information regarding outages. One Utility has developed a Windows 8 application allowing their staff do a better job supporting their commercial and industry accounts.

Partner ESRI has released their ArcGIS Online mapping platform on Windows 8. With the app you can explore a gallery of compelling maps that showcase relevant demographic, commercial, and environmental topics.

Another partner application that I would like to highlight comes from Iconics. Iconics is a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner of the Year and provider of Web-enabled, industrial visualization software for Microsoft Windows® operating systems, put out its own press release about the expansion of its AnyGlass Anytime™ HMI/SCADA, Building Automation and Manufacturing Intelligence solutions to include availability as a Windows 8 app which you can download here.

This is typical of the many Microsoft partners who see the importance of Windows 8 to their applications and the next move to Azure, or cloud computing.Iconics

For utility companies, with large physical plant operations, here’s how Iconics will apply Windows 8 to their MobileHMI solution:

Visualize your plant operations from your Windows 8 tablet with dazzling, fully animated graphics, or respond to alarms and alerts in real-time.  Utilize natural multi-touch gestures to swipe through your operation and zoom or drill down into areas that need attention most.  MobileHMI allows you to achieve instant, one-touch access to operational conditions of concern or KPI’s of interest.  Utilize the built-in search capability to explore and identify all available information on topics of interest. With MobileHMI you’re immediately aware of critical alerts (alarms) that are delivered to your device and displayed on your main screen via the MobileHMI Live Tile.

The key to understanding Windows 8 is the realization that for corporations, tablet computing with security and manageability is here to stay as it fundamentally changes the relationship of utility workers with their computers.

As Mossberg says:

Windows will now consist of two very different user experiences bound into a single package. The idea is it’s a one-size-fits-all operating system, which can run on everything from older, mouse-driven PCs to touch-controlled tablets without compromise. Everything from a touch-based weather app to mouse-driven Excel will run on it.

We think utilities will now have the best of both worlds available to them – the traditional desk top user and the new mobile worker – all on company maintained systems with security and manageability built into the foundation of the platform. You will see more announcements like this as other Microsoft partners unveil their Win8 adaptations.

It’s truly exciting times as we reimage the way people work through windows 8. As one Utility executive told me after as seeing a demo of a Windows 8 partner mobility application: “this is absolutely relevant, timely and potentially game changing for the way our field works” We couldn’t agree more! – Jon C. Arnold