Microsoft plans to release a big Windows 10 update somewhere in the second half of 2021. Apart from many cosmetic changes and long-rumored "Sun Valley" redesign, the company is working on several new features and capabilities. One of these new capabilities is human presence APIs.
Human presence monitoring in Windows 10
A compatible Windows 10 device will monitor user presence as follows. If the user leaves the workplace, his PC will lock itself after the specified time. It can also instantly wake when he returns to the computer.
IT admins will have some options for customizing this experience. For example, Windows will allow setting a timeout between 10 seconds and 2 minutes, and also select monitoring distance to avoid false positives.
It is worth mentioning that human presence APIs are not entirely new to Windows 10. Some OEMs already equip their PCs with something similar. The only difference is that the next update will bring native APIs which no longer require third-party implementation.
Microsoft will integrate human presence monitoring into the Settings app on Windows 10, and add the appropriate options to the Local Group Policy Editor app. Although human presence APIs sound appealing, they will be mostly used in the enterprise environment.
Do note that new human presence monitoring settings are available on devices running Windows 10, Professional, Educational, and Enterprise edition. The are available starting in Build 21332 or newer. You can check these settings by opening Local Group Policy Editor and navigating to Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Human Presence.
You can also add an additional security layer to your Windows 10 setup by connecting your phone Windows 10 PC and enabling Dynamic Lock, a feature that is available in the OS since 2017. It instantly locks your computer when a companion device is out of reach. Dynamic Lock helps keep a computer secured for those who forget to lock their devices on leaving the workplace.
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