Today, we shared that Delta Air Lines is deploying 11,000 Surface 2 tablets running Windows RT 8.1 to its pilots in their transition to electronic flight bags. Delta is rolling out these new tablets to replace the traditional paper document flight bags you’ve probably seen pilots lug around in large briefcases, which weigh on average, a surprising 38 pounds each.
Delta’s new electronic flight bags will run Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro app built for Windows 8.1, providing pilots with seamless and instant access to real-time information and resources including flight charts and navigation tools. Delta plans to have all cockpits paperless by the end of 2014, which is forecast to reduce fuel and associated costs by $13 million per year, reduce carbon emissions by 26 million pounds and save the equivalent of more than 900 trees each year.
In addition to the cost savings of deploying Windows tablets, the transition to Surface 2 puts all of the critical information a pilot needs at their fingertips enhancing situational awareness for pilots and improving safety. You can learn more about why Delta chose Surface 2 here.
It’s an exciting time for Delta to be taking advantage of the new capabilities and enterprise features we’ve added for business customers in Windows RT 8.1. We’ve talked a lot about the benefits businesses can realize with Windows 8.1 Enterprise; additionally, companies are also increasingly taking advantage of Windows RT 8.1 for targeted mobile-first scenarios.
Windows RT 8.1 advances the vision we started with Windows RT, introducing new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities combined with an instant-on experience on devices that are thin, lightweight, and deliver amazing battery life.
- Enhanced manageability: Open and expanded Mobile Device Management (MDM) support is now built into the operating system (leveraged by Windows Intune as well as third-party MDM tools). Responding to customer feedback, Windows 8.1 Enterprise and Windows RT 8.1 also support a new policy setting called Start Screen Control that allows IT to control the layout of the Start Screen on company-issued devices and prevent users from customizing the layout if needed. This is especially useful for shared computers, multi-purpose kiosks running multiple apps, and other fixed-use scenarios.
- App platform enhancements: Added support for specialized USB peripherals used in many point-of-sale, data collection, and other specialized line-of-business scenarios. This can be combined with a new featured called Assigned Access, which allows IT to enable a device to run a single app and block access to other system files and apps.
- Better connectivity: Corporate network connection is easier than ever with built-in VPN clients for F5, Juniper, Check Point, and Dell SonicWall infrastructures.
- New security capabilities: A new Workplace Join feature helps ensure that only trusted Windows RT 8.1 devices access a secured enterprise environment. Another new feature, Remote Business Data Removal, allows IT to remove company data if a device is lost or stolen while leaving personal data intact.
- Data access: New offline access enables full use with SkyDrive while disconnected from the internet, and the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Work Folders feature that enables synchronization of a user-specific folder on the server to the Windows RT 8.1 device.
- Improved email: Windows RT 8.1 comes with Outlook 2013 RT, which gives customers the great Outlook experience they know and love on a Windows 8.1 RT device.
- More apps and features: Windows RT 8.1 includes Internet Explorer 11, our most enhanced web browser that supports the latest web standards and is perfect for touch. And Skype comes included in Windows RT 8.1 and provides voice and video calling, as well as instant messaging capabilities.
The new features in Windows RT 8.1 open up a variety of new opportunities for mobile scenarios for business customers. Existing Windows RT devices can be upgraded to Windows RT 8.1 for free through the Windows Store starting at 12:00am on October 18 in New Zealand (that’s 4:00am PT on October 17). I encourage you to explore the capabilities that Windows RT 8.1 can offer your business.