Posey's Tips & Tricks
Tech Predictions for 2024: Digital Identities, Windows Next and More
As the rise of AI continues, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the tech features heavily in my yearly forecast.
For quite a few years now, it has become customary for me to list my technology predictions for the upcoming year. While there are plenty of tech journalists who offer predictions for the next 12 months, I do things a little bit differently than most by sticking to three rules.
My first rule is that these predictions are just for fun. Yes, I do try to make accurate predictions, but because I write these purely for fun I try to stay away from boring, state of the industry-type stuff. My second ground rule is that I try to avoid making any predictions that are super obvious. Finally, I always round out my list of predictions with a longshot. I try to make these longshot predictions plausible, yet bold, audacious and (dare I say) unlikely. So now that I've gotten the rules out of the way, here are my predictions for the coming year.
1. Microsoft Gets More Aggressive With Digital Identities
My first prediction is that Microsoft is going to be getting more aggressive with its use of digital identities. We have already seen over the last year Microsoft taking steps to make it more difficult to use Windows 11 without a Microsoft account. However, my guess is that this is just the beginning. I look for Microsoft to come up with some sort of universal digital identity that can be used for authentication on just about any site or resource. Think of it as a next generation single sign-on technology that would make it much more difficult to act anonymously online.
2. Microsoft Creates a Successor to Windows 11
Last year I predicted that in 2023 we would see Microsoft announce a new version of Windows, but it didn't happen. Even so, I am going to double down on that prediction and predict that Microsoft will announce a successor to Windows 11 sometime in 2024.
In recent months Microsoft has been downplaying the idea that a new version of Windows is being developed. Even so, my guess is that Microsoft will have little choice but to build a new Windows.
At the 2023 Ignite conference, CEO Satya Nadella made it clear that Microsoft was going all in on AI. While Microsoft has created a Copilot for Windows 11, my guess is that Microsoft would prefer to AI enable the entire operating system. Microsoft probably wouldn't be able to do a super deep AI integration in Windows 11 because there are too many components that would have to be rewritten from scratch. Rather than drastically changing Windows 11, look for Microsoft to announce a new AI-enabled Windows version, even if the new Windows is not released for quite some time.
3. Vendors Create Third-Party Microsoft 365 Copilots
I'm sure that I will probably catch some heat for this prediction, but in 2024 I am expecting to see some third-party alternatives to Microsoft 365 Copilot emerge.
In 2023, Microsoft performed some really impressive demos showing off all the cool things that can be done using Microsoft 365 Copilot. When it came time for Microsoft 365 Copilot to be released, however, Microsoft yanked the rug out from under most of its customers by licensing Microsoft 365 Copilot in a way that put it financially out of reach for all but its largest customers. In doing so, Microsoft left behind many individuals and smaller businesses that would love to use Microsoft 365 Copilot if it were made available to them.
My guess is that a third-party vendor will capitalize on this opportunity. Microsoft has created an API that allows anyone to create their own Copilot. There are also open source tools available that can provide similar functionality outside of the API. There is absolutely nothing stopping a third-party vendor from building their own Microsoft 365 Copilot alternative, and I will be really surprised if nobody creates such a product.
4. New Surface Devices Put a Huge Emphasis on GPU
My fourth prediction is that in 2024, any new Microsoft Surface devices that are announced will have more GPU resources than might have been included in the past. My reasoning behind this is simple. Microsoft has already said that it is going all-in on AI. Therefore, it only makes sense that its line of Surface devices would be equipped with extra GPU resources. In fact, we have already seen this with the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, which can be equipped with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050.
5. Facial Recognition-Based Guest Accounts
My really crazy prediction for 2024 is that we might see Microsoft introduce a Windows feature that allows guest users to authenticate into Windows PCs using facial recognition. The reason why I say this is because Microsoft is already bringing facial recognition to OneDrive. A facial recognition engine will soon be able to identify people who appear in photos that are stored on OneDrive. Given that Windows already has facial recognition authentication capabilities (Windows Hello), it really isn't such a stretch to think that Microsoft might make it so that a user can enable guest access for someone if they happen to appear in a photo stored on OneDrive.
Brien Posey is a 22-time Microsoft MVP with decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written thousands of articles and contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. In addition to his continued work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years actively training as a commercial scientist-astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow his spaceflight training on his Web site.