Is it time to augment your business reality?
In May 2018, we asked ‘Is the Microsoft HoloLens Worth It For SMEs?’ Now, as of yesterday, it’s time to ask whether the HoloLens 2 has worthwhile uses in a business setting or whether it’s merely a solution looking for a problem.
Unveiled at a kick-off event for the MWC (Mobile World Congress) Barcelona event, the HoloLens 2, like its predecessor, is being marketed as an enterprise solution rather than an entertainment system. Indeed, there are still no signs of a consumer version of the HoloLens, so gamers will have to keep waiting.
For businesses who can afford to pay $3,500 or $125 per user per month, the HoloLens 2 offers all the features of the first edition but with some notable improvements.
For a start, the field of view has been more than doubled, answering one of the most common criticisms of the first model.
Microsoft has also added in a variety of new sensors, including eye-tracking sensors, which make interacting with virtual objects more intuitive. This new technology also allows for iris recognitions, which is fully compatible with Windows Hello, the user ID security system built into Windows 10.
HoloLens 2 is also easier to put on and more comfortable, making it ideal for long sessions.
Perhaps the biggest development is the HoloLens 2’s link to the Azure cloud services. By shifting the computational donkey work from the device to the cloud, Microsoft has been able to craft a smaller, lighter and more efficient headset.
Microsoft also announced the HoloLens Customization Program, which allows third parties to produce their own versions of the HoloLens hardware, in order to make it more suitable for particular industry sectors. For example, HoloLens partner Trimble created a hard hat version to be used in safety controlled environments.
Notably, Microsoft was keen to stress the openness of the HoloLens platform. On the official Microsoft blog, it stressed the importance of “open stores, open browsers and open developer platforms.” This openness is something that has become a staple of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s time at the helm, and it’s helped to return the company back to a position of strength. The HoloLens looks to be another example of this approach paying off.
Is The HoloLens 2 Worth It For Business?
As with the first HoloLens, whether or not it’s worth it depends on what you might use it for. The real game changer, though, could be the introduction of subscription packages, which make the HoloLens 2 a much more realistic prospect, financially speaking, even for small businesses.
With the right software, businesses could potentially save money on things like training, which could be carried out remotely, thereby cutting travel and accommodation costs. Again, though, the return on investment ultimately depends on the nature of your business.
In any case, with this new design, Microsoft has done a lot to push HoloLens’s suitability for the mainstream. It’s still fairly expensive, but prices will naturally fall over time. What matters is that the product is improving and growing in popularity, and Microsoft is doing a good job of defining its place in the market.
For more information about the HoloLens 2 and to preorder, head to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens/buy. It’s also worth reading the fact sheet if you interested in the hardware specification.