REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 12, 2016 — On Wednesday, Microsoft Corp. announced that Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer, is now available for preorder in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with devices starting to ship in late November.
The news comes while HoloLens is experiencing tremendous excitement and interest from developers and commercial customers and partners around the globe.
“Since the launch of Microsoft HoloLens, we have seen really passionate developers and world-class companies develop groundbreaking computing experiences — experiences only possible on HoloLens,” said Alex Kipman, technical fellow, Microsoft Windows and Devices Group. “When we set out to pioneer the mixed-reality category, we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered when others got their hands on the technology. It has been quite inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created. Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do. I can’t wait to see what happens next as we welcome these new countries to our holographic landscape.”
Commercial customers breaking new ground with Microsoft HoloLens
Since the launch of HoloLens, Microsoft has seen innovation happening across the board as a diverse set of companies and partners breaks new ground within its industries using HoloLens as a means to transform their business. Here is what a few of these companies have had to say about their experience with HoloLens.
Case Western Reserve University: “This device allows us to engage students in unprecedented ways,” said Mark Griswold, faculty director for Case Western Reserve’s Interactive Commons and leader of the university’s work with Microsoft HoloLens. “The HoloLens allows students to explore the world in completely new ways. The mixed-reality view means students and faculty can interact with one another and the holographic information the entire time, preserving the critical human connection that is such an essential part of learning. We have just begun to explore the potential of HoloLens, and I am already confident that in time the device will be as common in student backpacks as laptops and smartphones.”
Lowe’s Home Improvement: “At Lowe’s we’ve endeavored to build a mixed-reality solution to help change the future of our retail experience. When we saw HoloLens, we knew we had found a solution that would allow us to create a collaborative process, enabling customers to make decisions about their home improvement projects quickly and confidently,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “We’re investing the most valuable thing we have: our time and our focus. Microsoft’s deep history of delivering meaningful solutions with other companies assures us that our partnership will help provide a differentiating customer experience.”
thyssenkrupp: “With elevators transporting over 1 billion people each day, we have a critical role to play in keeping cities moving. At thyssenkrupp, we are focused on leading the much-needed transformation of the global elevator industry to dramatically increase the efficiency and availability of elevators, and HoloLens is a key element in helping us achieve these goals,” said Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator. “The application of HoloLens in our operations can reduce service intervention times by up to four times, and such a feat was only made possible through our strong collaboration with Microsoft.”
NASA: Our partnership with NASA brings mixed reality to space exploration and discovery, creating new experiences and educational opportunities for scientists and consumers alike. Together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we have created four groundbreaking mixed-reality applications. The OnSight project enables scientists to use HoloLens to “work on Mars” together, directly from their offices, allowing them a means to plan and, along with the Curiosity Mars Rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet. By extending the OnSight project, in September we opened “Destination: Mars” at the Kennedy Space Center to the public, which allows visitors the only opportunity possible today to walk around the Red Planet, just as NASA scientists do today. The Sidekick project brought HoloLens to the International Space Station to enable station crews to get remote expert assistance when and where they need it, reducing crew training requirements and increasing the efficiency at which astronauts can work in space. The NASA team created the ProtoSpace HoloLens application to build the next generation of spacecraft and space rovers; the application brings 3-D spacecraft designs into the world to help improve the design process.
With today’s global expansion of HoloLens, more commercial partners are set to deliver new experiences that will allow their employees and customers to discover new ways to work.
Airbus: “Airbus believes in mixed-reality technologies, which are already deployed within our products and processes. Microsoft HoloLens is a promising platform, bringing mobility and new ways to consume and link users with digital information. Following our co-development with Microsoft teams, the device is concretely being tested and challenged in various environments across the company to understand if the technology will meet our business expectations. It is a very exciting phase, and we are looking forward to sharing concrete results based on our investigation.”
Audi: “Audi is invested in leading the future of automotive design through the use of cutting-edge technologies. A technology like Microsoft HoloLens could open up new opportunities for our services in many ways — from engineering reviews and collaboration to after-sales scenarios and new ways of customer experiences. There are many use cases to be realized,” said Jan Pflüger, Coordination Augmented and Virtual Reality at Audi IT. “A mixed-reality solution like HoloLens seems very promising in helping us improve service quality, innovate on our customer communication, and cut time and costs required for maintenance. We see an exciting future in this technology and look forward to expanding its use at Audi.”
Saab: “Microsoft HoloLens is the perfect platform for learning, collaborating or visualizing complex information,” said Inger Lawes, Saab Australia’s Mixed Reality Applications Program Head. “For example, in the training environment, it allows both trainers and trainees to share a visually rich interactive experience where the real world can be overlaid with fully interactive holograms. This technology is transformational, and we have had significant interest from a diverse range of industries such as healthcare and mining, keen to understand how Microsoft HoloLens and tailored mixed-reality applications can add new value to their businesses.”
Microsoft’s mixed-reality movement is just beginning
Today, HoloLens customers are developing innovative solutions that are already having a positive impact on their business. These customers are the early adopters of the kind of mixed-reality solutions that are poised for exponential growth in the years to come. According to IDC, “worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.1” Windows 10 will be updated in 2017 to include Windows Holographic, the platform that powers the mixed-reality experiences enabling people to perceive the world differently, break down barriers, and bring the virtual and the physical worlds together. In June at Computex, we announced that Windows Holographic is coming to Windows 10 PCs and head-mounted displays to deliver incredible new mixed-reality experiences. The development opportunity is significant — as all holographic apps are Universal Windows apps, and all Universal Windows apps can be made to run on the Windows Holographic platform. This means the investments that developers of all shapes and sizes make today will take advantage of the growing ecosystem of Windows Holographic devices.
Microsoft HoloLens available to preorder in new countries now
Microsoft first announced HoloLens in January 2015 and shipped to developers and commercial partners in Canada and the United States on March 31, 2016. Microsoft HoloLens is now available to preorder exclusively from the Microsoft Store in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with devices starting to ship in late November.
More about the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition and Commercial Suite, and Windows Holographic can be found here.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @Microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
1 IDC Press Release, “Worldwide Revenues for Augmented and Virtual Reality Forecast to Reach $162 Billion in 2020, According to IDC,” Aug. 15, 2016