From the home office to the boardroom to the frontline, how we work continues to change and evolve. There’s more permanence in the flexibility people have come to expect in how they work. “By the end of 2023, 39 percent of global knowledge workers will work hybrid, up from 37 percent in 2022,” according to Gartner, Inc.1 As remote work and distributed workforces continue to disrupt and change work patterns for information workers, we see flexible work needs in areas of frontline work as well.
We know how essential frontline workers are to business operations, critical systems, and customer experience. Flexibility is key, but flexibility may look different in some scenarios for frontline workers.
A healthcare provider might have three shifts in the hospital and two days remote through telemedicine. Call center workers can do their jobs remotely or in the office similar to information workers. A construction or retail worker who largely works on-site needs mobile flexibility since their work often spans multiple job sites or different stores.
The common denominator for many of these frontline workers is access to technology.
The Microsoft 2022 Work Trend Index special report focused on frontline determined that many feel underserved when it comes to technology experiences. One-third of all frontline workers we surveyed said they do not have the right technological tools to be effective in their jobs.2
That’s why we continue to invest in innovation and engaging experiences that meet the many needs of every person in the workforce. We’re taking what we’ve learned—from our research and our customers’ feedback—and extending more flexibility and better tech experiences to the frontline workers who do critical jobs that serve our day-to-day lives.
Today, I’m excited to share how we are expanding Windows 365—your Windows in the cloud—with Windows 365 Frontline. Now in public preview, Windows 365 Frontline helps organizations meet the needs of their entire workforce. We are also delivering Cloud PCs to more devices than ever, with new LG and Motorola integrations.
Introducing Windows 365 Frontline, delivering the flexibility of the Cloud PC to shift and part-time workers
“Gartner estimates that there are 2.7 billion frontline workers—more than twice the number of desk-based workers.”3 Organizations face unique challenges to meet their IT and workplace experience needs. Companies must scale technology faster and to a much larger population. Equipping all frontline employees with their own devices is not economically feasible for many organizations, particularly when many only require access while on the job. Frontline workers often share physical PCs or kiosks, which some CIOs have told us pose real security and identity challenges. This can inhibit productivity and put critical information like intellectual property or customer data at risk.
With Windows 365 Frontline, we are introducing an easy and affordable way for organizations to extend the power and security of Cloud PCs to shift workers. Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PCs provide these employees with access to their personalized Windows apps, settings, and data, helping them save time and increase efficiency, and freeing them to work from anywhere and on any device. It offers new features for IT admins to better empower frontline workers.
Windows 365 Frontline helps organizations do more with less
Windows 365 Frontline is designed to work the way frontline workers work, whether part-time or on a shift. Their Cloud PCs are accessible during their shift and they power down when their shift is over.
Windows 365 frontlineLearn more
We’ve worked closely with our customers as we built and tested Windows 365 Frontline, listening to their feedback on what they need from a Cloud PC and how they would use it. Consider a radiologist working in multiple hospitals, an insurance agent documenting incidents on-site, or a customer support representative helping clients worldwide. These are examples that demonstrate how people will benefit from using their Cloud PC to stay productive and secure for the duration of their shift. Elanco Animal Health shared their excitement from previewing the product and the value it is delivering to their help desk workers.
“Windows 365 helps us respond quickly if we need to staff up third-party contractors and equip them with the full Windows experience. For teams like our help desk who work on predefined shifts, Windows 365 Frontline is a no brainer. Shift workers can share licenses versus paying for individual licenses that are only partially used. And because we can configure, deploy, and manage it all with Microsoft Intune—the same way we manage standard machines—only one team is needed and no additional infrastructure, saving our team time and money.”–Mike Henry, IT Executive Director-TechOps, Elanco Animal Health
With Windows 365 Frontline, each license you purchase enables three people to access a Cloud PC during their work hours. This means that instead of purchasing a license for every shift worker, you can purchase only enough licenses for the number of active employees at a given time. For example, say you have 300 employees but only 100 of them work at the same time. You only need to purchase 100 licenses to give all 300 employees access to their personalized Windows experience during their shifts.
Windows 365 Frontline equips organizations to deliver better experiences for frontline workers
Windows 365 Frontline provides access to the full, personalized Windows experience streamed from Microsoft Cloud and can be purchased, deployed, and managed by Microsoft Intune alongside your other Cloud PCs and physical devices. Read the blog on Tech Community to learn more about how to provision and manage Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PCs.
Windows 365 is a complete Windows experience in the cloud, and it’s built to showcase the best of what Microsoft offers. It’s a platform to deliver more features and richer experiences to frontline and shift workers, such as the new Microsoft Teams and premium experiences like Microsoft 365 Copilot (as they become available), on industry-specific apps and across a wide variety of devices from kiosks to handhelds to PCs.
Once employees log in, they have immediate access to all their personalized resources—apps, data, desktops, and settings—so they can hit the ground running at the start of every shift.
When employees are ready to start their shift, they simply sign into Windows 365 from the web or the Windows 365 app. And when they sign out at the end of the workday, a personalized Cloud PC becomes available for the next employee.
To help ensure the security of your organization’s data, maximize IT investments, and provide a seamless, personalized Windows experience for your shift workers, Windows 365 Frontline includes additional features like:
- Automatic lock screen: Protect your organization from unauthorized access with a setting that automatically signs users out of their Cloud PCs after a time-out period that you specify.
- Auto sign-out: If an employee forgets to sign out at the end of a shift, you can automate user log-off to ensure access to a Cloud PC is made available for the next worker.
- Auto reset: In situations where data must be wiped from a Cloud PC at the end of a shift, the auto reset feature restores the Cloud PC to its original state for each new session. Workers in highly secure situations or those who handle sensitive data—such as healthcare workers, customer service agents, and technical support teams—can be productive on Cloud PCs in alignment with their organization’s security policies. This feature will not be available during the public preview.
- Optimized updates: Leveraging existing Windows Update for Business policies set by the organization, this feature helps intelligently optimize the timing of applying Windows updates to minimize reboots during the shift.
- Frontline utilization report: Usage patterns of Cloud PCs are easy to monitor in Microsoft Intune with reporting to help customers ensure they have enough Cloud PCs to suit the needs of their employees during their shifts.
Windows 365 Frontline
Extend the power and security of Cloud PCs to shift workers.
Extending the Cloud PC to more devices to meet people where they are, wherever they work
Windows 365 was created with remote and flexible work styles in mind. With Windows 365, we continue to develop new ways to meet people however and wherever they’re working. Whether it’s in designing new solutions to meet frontline worker needs or expanding to new endpoints, Windows 365 is designed for flexible work.
Windows 365 now available with LG’s new 2023 TVs
The Home Office Card on the all new Home of LG Smart TVs brings together several productivity apps and services that are ideal for those working from home, and now Windows 365 is available on LG’s new 2023 Smart TVs. Users can transform their LG TV into a state-of-the-art workstation by setting up cloud-based virtualization solutions, including Windows 365, then pair a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to enjoy a fully equipped office experience from home.
Enhanced Windows 365 experiences with Motorola
Today, we are excited to share about a partnership with Motorola. We are working with them to bring an enhanced Windows 365 experience to Android devices like the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola. This new built-in experience will allow people to use the ThinkPhone to plug-and-play Windows 365 connectivity that finds and automatically configures their Cloud PC for use on an external screen.
Streamlining the transition from the client to the cloud
First announced last April 2022, you now can get quick access to your Cloud PC with the new Windows 365 app. Generally available in the Microsoft Store, you can go from your desktop straight to your Cloud PC with Windows 365 app, which provides you with a personalized experience tailored to your settings, profile, and work style. It also reduces friction for IT administrators who can enable employees with a single sign-on experience. You can download the Windows 365 app now.
First announced one year ago, Windows 365 Boot and Windows 365 Switch will soon also be available to make it even easier for people to log into their Cloud PCs and switch seamlessly between their Cloud PC and physical desktop environments. Just imagine a healthcare or retail worker moving between physical tasks and engaging with their device being able to bypass the lengthy startup process and boot directly into their secure Cloud PC experience and pick up right where they left off.
New resources to help you reduce expenses and improve your carbon footprint
Total Economic Impact of Windows 365Read the report
We’ve also heard from several organizations that are looking for additional ways to reduce expenses, so we wanted to highlight some of the economic and environmental impacts that the Cloud PC can have on organizations.
This flexibility of work style has made Windows 365 a popular choice among businesses looking to streamline their operations and cut costs. For instance, BPO American has found Windows 365 to be an effective way to manage expenses while maintaining security. Similarly, Grant Thornton UK LLP has leveraged the platform to provide employees with the flexibility to bring their own devices to work.
In our recently commissioned March 2023 Total Economic Impact™ of Windows 365 study, Forrester Consulting found that “a composite organization experiences benefits of $5.37 million over three years versus costs of $3.85 million, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $1.53 million and an ROI of 40 percent.” For additional insights, read the March 2023 Total Economic Impact™ of Windows 365 study.
Windows 365 is designed to help employees do their best work—however, they work, and to give organizations the flexibility, security, and ease of deployment they need to empower everyone in their organization to be productive. Organizations are also choosing Windows 365 to help them accelerate progress toward their sustainability goals. In the recently commissioned research study with Px3, which examined the potential for carbon emissions reductions and energy cost savings, Px3 found with Windows 365 Cloud PCs, organizations can significantly reduce operating emissions by transitioning end-user computing workloads into highly efficient cloud data centers increasingly powered by renewable energy.
Learn more about Windows 365 and get started today
Windows 365 is designed to be flexible for the many ways people work, no matter their role, and empowers IT to deliver new value to their organization. Learn more about Windows 365 and get the latest updates on additional new features on Tech Community. As we continue to innovate and expand Windows 365 to meet the needs of the entire workforce, we look forward to hearing from you with feedback.
If you want to try Windows 365 Frontline, sign up for the public preview today. Visit the Windows 365 Frontline website to learn more. You can also listen to the upcoming Windows in the Cloud episode on Microsoft Tech Community.
1Gartner, Inc. Press release, Gartner Forecasts 39% of Global Knowledge Workers Will Work Hybrid by the End of 2023, March 1, 2023.
2Microsoft, Technology Can Help Unlock a New Future for Frontline Workers (microsoft.com), January 12, 2022.
3Gartner, Hype Cycle™ for Digital Workplace Applications, 2022, August 2022. GARTNER and Hype Cycle are registered trademarks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.