Microsoft's latest update for the HoloLens 2 makes it easier for users to collaborate with colleagues. One of the biggest additions is perhaps the full integration of Microsoft Teams, because users will no longer have to hop on a computer or a phone to attend meetings with the rest of their organization. While the headset has had the capability to make and receive Teams video calls for years, its collaborative features were still pretty limited.
With this new update, Microsoft is giving HoloLens 2 users the capability to display an array of holographic windows with Teams calls, chats and calendars. Since the update also adds OneDrive integration, users will be able to access their cloud-based folders and see Word documents, PDFs and videos shared during calls.
Microsoft has also combined its two Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality apps, namely the Dynamics 365 Guides app that provides step-by-step holographic instructions to users and the Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app that lets frontline workers show colleagues what they're seeing in the field. The company said the combined application was a priority request from Toyota, which has been providing feedback for the headset since 2016.
David Kleiner, who leads Toyota North America's Applied Technology & Research Lab, explained that giving frontline workers laptops won't work, because they don't have desk jobs and that using a device they can wear with all the tools they need is much more practical. "Someone can grab a HoloLens, start a Guides session, and literally have a trainer in their head," Kleiner said. "If they do need help, they can call an expert right from the app."
In addition to discussing the headset's new capabilities, Microsoft also said that it would release a successor to the current iteration. Reports earlier this year claimed that the tech giant scrapped its plans for the HoloLens 3 and that it was going to be the end for the device. Microsoft, however, denied that it was killing the HoloLens and called it "critical part of [the company's] plans for emerging categories like mixed reality and the metaverse." Now, Microsoft mixed reality VP Scott Evans said that the company is "just looking for the right design point to make it a meaningful update" because "[customers] want a successor device that's going to enable an even higher return on investment."