Microsoft touts Windows 365 Frontline: 1 subscription for up to 3 workers

Windows 365 Frontline is aimed at hybrid workforces that perform shift and frontline work, and whose employees may need to switch out computers as they come and go without losing customized settings and data.

Windows 365 Offline

Microsoft today unveiled Windows 365 Frontline, a Cloud PC option aimed at frontline, shift, and part-time workers.

The new subscription to Windows 365 allows organizations to purchase one license that can be shared by up to three workers on mobile devices. The service also boasts new features for IT administrators.  

“Windows 365 Frontline can be managed alongside your other Windows 365 Cloud PCs and endpoints with Microsoft Intune. From deploying apps to applying settings, it's easy for IT administrators to tailor the experience of each group of Cloud PCs to meet the needs of each type of employee,” Sam Tulimat, a Microsoft principal product lead, said in a blog post.

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An image of what a shift worker would see logging into Windows 365 Frontline.

Now in public preview, Windows 365 Frontline delivers Cloud PCs to more devices, including new LG televisions and smart screens and Android devices, such as the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola. Additionally, the Windows 365 app is now available in the Microsoft Store.  

In 2021, Microsoft introduced Windows 365, a desktop-as-a-service that the company dubbed as “Cloud PC” because it provides organizations a way to stream their entire Windows experience from the Microsoft cloud.

Last April, the company unveiled new features in Windows 11 and other apps and services, delivering a tighter integration between Windows 11 and Windows 365. The tweaks were designed to better support hybrid work environments.

Microsoft’s new Windows 365 Frontline is basically a feature that allows multiple employees to share a single license of Windows 365 so as employees come and go during shifts, each of their devices can be provisioned as a personalized PC.

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Windows 365 Fronline's main provisioning page for administrators.

"For instance, if you have 300 customer service representatives working across time zones or shifts, but only 100 of them work at the same time, only 100 licenses need to be purchased,” Tulimat said. “When these 100 employees save their data and sign out at the end of their shift, the next group of employees can log in to their personalized Cloud PCs and pick up their work exactly where they left it at the end of their previous shift.”

Shift workers can get to work right away because their own settings, data, and apps have been saved and are available as soon as they sign in to their Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC, Tulimat said.

In another example, Microsoft cited 30 remote customer service representatives a company might have just hired in the Philippines. No more than nine reps are expected to work at once. To ensure it doesn’t run short on Cloud PCs, the company could purchase 10 licenses for Windows 365 Frontline with a Cloud PC configuration of 2 vCPU/8 GB/128 GB. With 10 licenses, up to 30 Cloud PCs can be provisioned.

Unlike Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PCs, Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PCs remain in a powered-off state by default when they are not in use. When an employee logs in through the Windows 365 app or, their Cloud PC is powered on, and when they select Disconnect, it is powered off.

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Windows 365 Frontline's provisioning page.

The process is completely automated and does not require administrative intervention. If a Cloud PC is powered off, it will receive Intune policies and updates when it is turned back on.

“Technology ranks third on the list of factors workers say could help reduce workplace stress. Microsoft sees this need and is expanding its Windows 365 Cloud PC offering to cater to the needs of frontline workers who are often overlooked in terms of digital empowerment,” Microsoft said in its announcement.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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