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Life Insurer Deploys 30,000 Windows 8 Tablets

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Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company in Japan is rolling out one of the largest known deployments of Windows 8-based tablets. The company is giving Fujitsu tablets to 30,000 of its sales reps, both Fujitsu and Microsoft announced today.

The companies say it's the largest rollout of Windows 8 tablets in Japan and it probably ranks among the largest known deployments anywhere. Meiji Yasuda Life will start using the tablets next month at 1,200 locations, according to Fujitsu. Both Fujitsu and Microsoft worked together to develop what they describe as a sales terminal.

Equipped with a 12.1-inch display and just 15mm (.59-inch thick), it weighs approximately 880 grams (1.15 pounds) and is powered to last an entire day. In addition to sporting the typical Windows 8 touch interface, it's designed to allow for handwritten input, allowing customers to sign documents.

The tablet has a built-in mobile WAN module to work on the wireless NTT DOCOMO LTE-based network. The systems are also designed to encrypt data on the tablets' solid state drives.

Erwin Visser, Microsoft's general manager, Windows Commercial said in a blog post today that the tablets are replacing Windows XP-based PCs, where sales reps put together proposals and then printed them out.  "Using the Windows 8 tablets, their sales efforts will be more efficient and the customer experience will be greatly improved," Visser said. "The company also expects to process contracts more quickly, while ensuring customer security is protected and eliminating the need for printed documentation altogether."

This is a big win for Windows 8 and Microsoft and probably welcome news after the release of last quarter's tablet market share report from IDC released Wednesday. Now Microsoft needs many more big deployments to get enterprises interested in Windows 8.

Many IT pros tell me they plan to pass on major Windows 8 rollouts for the mere reason that they typically skip releases after performing major upgrades. Most organizations have upgraded their Windows XP (and earlier) PCs with Windows 7 and don't see a need to transition again at this time. But there are still a huge number of Windows XP-based systems that will no longer be supported with security patches after April 8 of next year and Microsoft is encouraging organizations to consider Windows 8 rather than Windows 7.

As more organizations find use for tablets, perhaps the resistance to Windows 8 could subside. It remains to be seen how quickly enterprises will take a keener interest in tablets and even when they do, whether they'll choose those based on Windows 8, iPads or devices loaded with Google's Android or Chrome OS.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/07/2013 at 12:29 PM


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