The biggest news, insights & trends from HoloLens Industry Summit 2021
XR Today just attended the world’s first Microsoft HoloLens Industry Summit to cover all the latest mixed reality news, trends, and insights emerging from the tech powerhouse in 2021 and beyond.
The fully virtual event was the first of its kind, bringing together key figures from within Microsoft’s mixed reality division to discuss the marketplace and what direction the company will be taking over the next 12 months.
Here are some of the best highlights we unveiled during today’s event.
Ori Amiga, Vice President at Microsoft Mixed Reality, opened with some key trends and figures demonstrating the immense value mixed reality is already bringing many industries across the enterprise.
In just 14 months since the HoloLens 2 headset’s initial launch, Microsoft has already expanded its mixed reality offering from 10 markets up to 26. It also added 22 updates to its HoloLens platform and established 150 new partnerships with organizations in automotive, healthcare, retail, AEC, education, and more.
“We believe mixed reality is the fourth wave of computing that’s as influential as the mainframes of the 70s, the PCs of the 90s, and the smartphones of the 2000s. It will become that ubiquitous computing platform that blends the best of the digital world and the physical world to create that new computing medium for all of us.” Amiga adds.
Based on market research, Microsoft expects to see the following trends occurring in the mixed reality marketplace over the next 12 months.
As well as improving employee performance, speeding up production rates, and enabling teams to collaborate on projects in unprecedented ways, mixed reality is also helping the automotive industry tackle one of its biggest problems: CO2 emissions. During the presentation, Amiga told us HoloLens partner, Mercedes, had reduced its carbon footprint with HoloLens 2 and mixed reality by as much as 35-40%, and he expects this trend to continue spreading throughout the Automotive space.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to place huge limitations on the way businesses connect and engage with their customers on a physical level, Microsoft expects to see a significant increase in mixed reality investments from retailers over the next decade. As well as creating a safer way for customers to shop, mixed reality will also transform the ways sales professionals engage with customers over products to create better customer experiences and drive conversions.
Since the start of the pandemic, hospitals and other healthcare institutions have been placed under immense pressure from an unprecedented virus that has changed the world forever. Fortunately, thanks to Microsoft and its mixed reality innovations, institutions like the NHS have been using the HoloLens 2 to overcome the many challenges doctors and nurses face daily. By increasing communications and giving medical professionals instant, real-time access to all the critical information they need to save more lives, mixed reality is expected to completely revolutionise the healthcare sector over the next decade.
Alongside some key insights into where the mixed reality marketplace is heading in 2021, Microsoft also provided attendees with an exclusive announcement of its plan to release a new HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition headset later on this year.
The new headset was designed to deliver better mixed reality experiences to organisations that work in highly-regulated environments such as clean rooms and pharmaceutical labs etc.
While Charlie Han, Principal PM Manager, Microsoft HoloLens, didn’t go into great detail on what features the Industrial Edition would offer, he did confirm the headset would open for pre-orders from February 1st ahead of its release in Spring 2021.
During his presentation, Simon Skaria, Partner Director of Program Management, also announced Microsoft Azure’s new Spatial Object Anchors.
With these Spatial Object Anchors, Azure will be able to staple holograms and instructions directly to objects such as a car engine or other industrial products as they move around the factory floor.
“When somebody is moving a component of your engine, you want to make sure those holographic instructions remain precisely associated with those objects in transit. Azure Spatial Object Anchors allow the headset to recognise that object, move with it, and most importantly, make sure the six degrees of freedom orientation and geometric positioning of that instruction stays intact,” Skaria adds.
Although no exact release date for Azure’s Spatial Object Anchors was given, Skaria was happy to announce the company is only months away from issuing the new feature for public review.
If today’s event has proven anything, it’s that mixed reality has the power to change the enterprise landscape in a colossal way.
Aside from the obvious benefits of cutting back on costs and driving up production rates, tools like the HoloLens and the applications it offers are helping organisations and the people who work for them become smarter, faster and safer than ever before.
What’s perhaps most exciting of all, however, is the thought that we’re still only standing at the foot of the mountain, and the most significant innovations have yet to come.