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December 11, 2022

Now you can join a Microsoft Teams conversation from a HoloLens 2 headset

Microsoft pushes the industrial metaverse and also hints at what’s to come for HoloLens hardware.

HoloLens 2 users can call people directly, browse and add Microsoft Teams contacts to ongoing conversations, or join a regular meeting, just as they would on any other device.

Few consumers have worn Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset, but engineers at enterprise clients such as Toyota can now share Teams screens as holograms.

Part of Microsoft’s exploration of the industrial metaverse, the new integration lets HoloLens 2 users call up a series of holographic windows in a Teams call or chat. Users can also display a PowerBI dashboard, a Word document, a PDF, video, OneDrive folder and calendar.

The holographic windows can be opened, closed, resized and moved by the HoloLens 2 user. The two main updates to HoloLens 2 are Dynamics 365 Guides, which provides step-by-step holographic instructions, and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, which allows others on a desktop or mobile to see what the HoloLens wearer sees via a Teams call. The Teams desktop user can also take notes in a 3D space to assist the HoloLens user.

Microsoft is targeting engineers, support teams and front-line workers who are often away from a desk but need to participate in remote communications.

“Someone can grab a HoloLens, start a Guides session and literally have a trainer in their head,” said Scott Evans, vice president of mixed reality at Microsoft. “If they do need help, they can call an expert directly from the app.”

There has been uncertainty about Microsoft’s plans for HoloLens, but Microsoft now suggests there will be a HoloLens 3, with work on the screen, tracking, sensors and battery life. HoloLens 2 was released in 2019, three years after the original HoloLens. Evans emphasized that businesses, unlike consumers, do not want new devices every two years.

“Nobody wants to be redundant for 10% better opportunities. They don’t need a successor yet, but they want to know it will be there at the right time,” he said.

“We’re just looking for the right design point to make it a meaningful update. They want a successor that allows an even higher return on investment.”

Microsoft also showed its ongoing work with the U.S. military on HoloLens. Microsoft got a $22 billion HoloLens deal with the U.S. military in March 2021, but testing was postponed last October. Bloomberg reported in October that US soldiers who tested the headset experienced headaches, eyestrain and nausea, according to a Pentagon report. The glow of the screen was visible from hundreds of feet away, making it an unsafe tool on the battlefield, according to an account given to Business Insider.

Evans said the U.S. Army is helping to improve both software and hardware.

HoloLens 2 teams
Source: Microsoft

“The military program has its own set of requirements tailored to the needs of the soldier. So it helps advance the whole platform. It’s great to have early adopters setting the requirements because you end up getting this trickle-down effect,” he said.

Source: zdnet

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