Our Take On The HoloLens Insider Preview

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Microsoft has just released details of the release of the forthcoming Insider Preview build for HoloLens. These builds are designed for users to be a part of the development of the next big HoloLens roll out so while some of the features may not be fully formed or functional they nevertheless do give us an insight into the mind’s eye of Microsoft and what the future holds for HoloLens.

What is different about Redstone 5?

The previous HoloLens update, commonly known as Redstone 4, was released this spring and marked a massive update to the HoloLens software in terms of design and fluidity. The spring update also saw major rollouts across Windows Mixed Reality platforms too, highlighting just how important Microsoft sees Mixed Reality in the context of its future planning and projections.

And there are certainly some interesting features that have been planned for the HoloLens this time around too.

Casting made easy

One of the more intriguing features in the update is the ability to project your HoloLens view easily onto a compatible Miracast-enabled device. This has ramifications for presenting with the HoloLens. Ordinarily, setting up screen streaming on the HoloLens is difficult with a very specific set up required for spectator view. This is actually why we created our own HoloStream application in the first place but the fact that you can now simply screen share with a Miracast device means that when presenting or demoing a HoloLens application, especially to multiple people such as at a conference or trade show scenario.

Windows 10 Alignment

The proposed feature set also sees a number of minor changes to the look and general feel of navigating the HoloLens. This has been done to make the HoloLens experience align more closely with that of Windows desktop. While seemingly minor, the updates actual make a lot of sense. Microsoft is banking a lot on its Mixed Reality ecosystem and making the transition as fluid as possible between existing Windows 10 hardware - desktop and tablet - is essentially, especially at the enterprise level, for ensuring smooth adoption of Windows Mixed Reality and HoloLens.

This can be seen, for instance, with the addition of notifications for apps as well as with some User Interface adjustments like for the volume control and upon the device boot.

Additional infrastructure for enterprise

There are other enterprise-only features too such as assigned access with Azure AD groups. This gives enterprise users the flexibility to use Azure AD groups for the configuration of Windows assigned access - important for security and for homogenising the HoloLens setup with existing Azure familiarity.

Evolution of the HoloLens

Overall, the update set feels very much like evolution rather than revolution. This makes a lot of sense, considering the extensive update that happened just a few months ago. Still, it is good to see Microsoft is constantly tweaking the software and not merely resting on its laurels until the next version of the hardware comes out which has been rumoured for a Q1 2019 release.

We’ll update on the specifics of the features as we test them and, if necessary implement any of the changes or functionality aspects into HoloMeeting.

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