Thanks to a Windows Insider, 10 grain elevators across rural Illinois are doing even more than storing bushels of grain. Rising 200 feet into the sky, the elevators will be helping a grain coop link its satellite offices with Internet connectivity. (How? With fixed directional wireless technology.)
In rural areas across the U.S., insufficient internet connectivity means that businesses can be limited from deploying modern tools like Office 365. But Doug Kinzinger, a Windows Insider and IT pro, loves a challenge. Doug is Director of Technology Solutions at MCS Office Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that helps businesses in Illinois get connected and boost their productivity with Windows 10 and other solutions.
“Fast connectivity creates opportunities and options that wouldn’t exist otherwise,” Doug explains. “Once the grain cooperative is fully connected, the company will begin a Windows 10, version 1803 rollout to all computers across all locations. After harvest, which happens each fall, they’ll be migrating off their old Exchange 2010 server and on to Office 365, further increasing collaboration and communication, and saving costs at the same time.”
By standardizing all the company’s machines with Windows 10, Doug is able to envision more possibilities for impactful solutions. For example, train cars make periodic trips to the elevators to load up on grain and send the product far and wide. Some elevators are equipped with cameras that enable a manager to view the weighing and loading process. “Previously, each camera could only be viewed by one location,” Doug says. “But with Windows 10 running Axis Companion software, an employee would be able to view those cameras from another computer at any of their locations, or remotely if desired.”
Doug’s approach to developing solutions focuses on finding the opportunities that maximize value for the customer. “Something I’ve been pushing for years is that there is value in unanimity in your operating systems,” he says. “Getting everyone on a good operating platform opens up possibilities for other improvements. It feels really good to refresh that infrastructure and make it solvent and then viable for future growth. Decommissioning outdated hardware and software is always rewarding to me.”
Even before the Windows Insider Program launched a few years ago, Doug “was frequently downloading MSDN bits or the latest build of Windows — trying it and just eating the Dogfood and giving feedback.” Today, he finds the Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds to be especially useful for testing the products of software vendors, especially those working in niche industries, such as agriculture and finance. By staying abreast of the future of Windows, his team can be sure to recommend solutions that will work for customers for the foreseeable future.
What’s Doug excited to tackle next? After helping many businesses build a foundation for the future with Internet connectivity and Windows 10, he is eager help customers find “the next value-add that gives them greater control and greater insight into their environment, like Windows Defender ATP and Intune. Once our customers experience certain improvements, they’re often curious about what else they can do —’We’ve got better stuff. We’re faster than ever. What other processes can we automate and streamline and make more efficient that we couldn’t do before?’”
Editor’s Note: Doug was the winner of our latest Insiders in Action contest! His featured photo shows him 200 feet in the air, on a grain elevator in rural Paxton, IL. If you’re a Windows Insider and want your story told, look out for future contests announced on our website. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to stay ahead of the latest news!