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Will Microsoft HoloLens Bring Virtual Reality To The Workplace?

January 30, 2015 by Tim Clark 0

If we’re to believe the hype surrounding the Microsoft HoloLens, virtual reality may soon be integrated into our daily work routine.

For the uninitiated, the HoloLens is a virtual reality PC headset that runs on Windows 10 and brings high-definition holograms to life in the real world, where they integrate with physical places, spaces, and things. According to Microsoft, here’s how HoloLens will change how we work and learn:

“With the ability to design and shape holograms, you’ll have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualize your work and share ideas.”

For instance, users can let their imaginations run wild and  create their own holograms within the company’s “HoloStudio” and perhaps 3D print the finished result.

While all of this certainly sounds impressive, the HoloLens is not commercially available yet. And if history has taught us anything, fancy demos and hype tend to mask underlying deficiencies of a product before launch (I’m looking at you video game industry).

But still…the  hype behind the HoloLens is pretty spectacular, leading me to believe it’s much more than another smoke and mirrors demo. Couple that with augmented/virtual reality momentum already taking place across the enterprise, I am hopeful that HoloLens means business and will help propel more widespread use of virtual reality solutions in the workplace.

While I haven’t had hands on time with HoloLens yet, I did get a chance to check out a few augmented reality demos at a recent SAP TechEd event in Las Vegas. After putting on a set of smart glasses and firing up two different applications I instantly became a believer.

One of the applications, called SAP AR Warehouse, is designed to eliminate a warehouse picker’s reliance of a cumbersome handheld scanner. The hands free, augmented reality solution enables a user’s smart glasses to be authenticated on the back end via a temporary QR code. Once authenticated, the user/picker might get their first task of the day beamed to their glasses. The system confirms the picker’s activities and the picker must answer “yes” or “no” via voice recognition before getting their next task.

The other, called  SAP Service Technician App (see above video), serves up simple directions with detailed 3D images that hover before the users eyes, making maintenance and other work tasks easier to accomplish. Can’t fix something? No problem, users can “Call An Expert” (who sees exactly what you see in the glasses) to help resolve the maintenance request.

Based on the early buzz of Microsoft’s HoloLens and augmented reality becoming a regular fixture across the enterprise, is it only a matter of time before this promising technology will change how we all work and learn?

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This story also appeared on SAP Business Trends, an open community dedicated to uncovering business benefits of IT innovation.

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