What the Spring Windows Update Means for HoloLens

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Microsoft has just announced its Windows 10 Spring update. This robust update contains many new features and improvements across the Windows 10 ecosystem including many for the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem. As we know, the Windows Mixed Reality infrastructure, which includes 3rd party headsets, has been created by Microsoft to give a bridge into Mixed Reality but this also has impact upon HoloLens as it underlines Microsoft’s support for the immersive technology as a whole.

What was in the update?

The Spring update includes a lot of improvements to the Mixed Reality experience. While Windows Mixed Reality is perhaps aimed towards the lower end of the market and can be seen to compete more with VR providers such as Oculus it nevertheless impacts the wider enterprise ecosystem and has features that will benefit everyone involved in Mixed Reality.

The first main feature update is the addition of the Skyloft to the Mixed Reality places. The Skyloft joins Cliff House as a virtual hub for your Mixed Reality activities. While this addition may seem superfluous it actually enables you to engage more with Mixed Reality, giving it a level of depth and personalisation that allows Windows Mixed Reality to become more than a platform and gives Mixed Reality a 3D ‘life’ that old 2D Windows infrastructure could hardly imagine.
You can now also take Mixed Reality photos directly from your controller which works across multiple environments. As we have seen from our own HoloMeeting application for instance, the ability to record and subsequently annotate data whether that be an important meeting or a game session gives you greater creative control than ever before over your work and digital life. In this manner, the live video preview has also been improved.

There were additional minor updates and improvements too but overall the User Experience of Windows Mixed Reality has been the biggest winner with the Spring update.

What this means for HoloLens and Mixed Reality in general?

HoloMeeting is compatible with Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

By actively concentrating on the User Experience aspect of Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft has shown how much it is invested in supporting and growing the whole Mixed Reality ecosystem. Mixed Reality and its immersive nature has the potential to usurp existing windows infrastructure. The way we work and interact with one another is becoming increasingly multi-dimensional which these improvements for Windows MR tap into. From both a commercial and a personal perspective, it shows that Microsoft is truly invested in the future.

Windows Mixed Reality cannot be written about without mentioning the cost too. The average RRP of a Windows MR headset is around $400 compared with $3,000 for the HoloLens. While we cannot see the lower-end headsets making their way onto a construction site for instance we can see it being involved within the wider ecosystem and the cost allows companies to roll out Mixed Reality across its processes at a much more cost-effective price point. This is one reason why we have included support for the Windows Mixed Reality headsets in our HoloMeeting application. The headsets can work in tandem with HoloLens allowing a remote expert to easily engage with a field operative without both requiring the more expensive HoloLens as one example of how the infrastructure can work together. There are plenty of other examples here too.

Moving forward with Windows Mixed Reality

As we can see, this latest Spring update has again proven how far Microsoft is invested in the success of Mixed Reality as a whole. By giving users unique Mixed Reality experiences, that they cannot get via regular digital means or even via Virtual Reality Microsoft is positioning Mixed Reality as the immersive technology of the future. This is a sentiment we fully agree with and look forward to seeing future updates to the MR ecosystem and especially for the HoloLens itself.

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