Why Microsoft’s HoloLens Is the Next Big Enterprise Thing

HoloLens could be the next big thing in business computing and can be used in some way to provide a better customer experience, improve business collaboration and so much more.

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People are excited about the gaming aspect of HoloLens. Building Minecraft structures on Mars, or immersing yourself into first person shooter games in a way even the Oculus Rift did not allow you to experience. The technology is amazing; Microsoft Research has long been on the forefront of cutting-edge technology, almost to the point that their projects can sometimes seem indistinguishable from magic. Microsoft Research is a group of highly talented, intellectually gifted, top quality researchers and academicians that really develop some of the most interesting and bleeding edge technologies around.

HoloLens Is Huge for the Corporate Crowd

HoloLens has a future that not everyone quite grasping at the moment. That is, its future in business. Gaming is fun, sure, but these devices can be used in almost any business in some way to provide such a better experience for customers that I suspect they will be throwing money at you.

This device can be used in business collaboration settings, too. Imagine an interactive business review, where you literally move numbers around on a page. Imagine an earnings presentation where you can actually transform bar and pie charts to answer questions and derive insight. Even consider an analytics angle: What if you can take a virtual walking tour of all of your New York customers’ buying habits in a certain Brooklyn location?

Also, consider the potential of HoloLens alongside the absolutely gorgeous and eminently usable Surface Hub product, which was also announced at the event. Surface Hub (no, not the utility installed on all Surface Pro 3 tablets — kudos go to Redmond for yet another product naming clash) is the premium office conference room display with a reasonably powerful computer included at no additional charge — 4K resolution with a couple of display sizes, with the largest reaching a giant 84 inches diagonal, a Windows 10 computer, Office, Cortana and more, and it is touch sensitive and you can use pens on it, too. It is, literally, meant to be the hub of the conference room.

[ Related: Hands-on: Microsoft's Massive Surface Hub Enables Big-Screen Collaboration ]

Consider what types of applications you could have while teaming up with colleagues or having a product design review on an 84-inch screen with everyone in the room using HoloLens, able to make design changes in 3D (and perhaps 4D by the time this all makes it to the market) or change the colors on parts.

Imagine how a large airplane manufacturer might use HoloLens together with the Surface Hub—or even just HoloLens by itself—to walk airframe customers through choosing interiors, which they can see virtually installed instantaneously. Imagine how large homebuilders can revolutionize their design centers by walking customers through the empty shell of a house with a couple of HoloLens units and show all sorts of upgrades, custom features, structure changes and more.

Think of hospitals revolutionizing medical and surgical training and minimizing error rates and patient deaths even further by always having a second experienced surgeon on hand virtually during difficult procedures.

If you take a couple of minutes, you can imagine many scenarios within your day where you can enhance your productivity and your business by immersing yourself into an experience.

The Last Word

Resist the strong temptation to relegate HoloLens into the category of devices that computer gaming enthusiasts and Dungeons and Dragons players use in their spare time, with not much practical application. This is anything but a toy.

The possibilities that HoloLens enables to transform the way businesses show their employees and customers their products, and the new items, services, and businesses this sort of augmented reality device can create based on those new experiences, are pretty much endless.

When HoloLens actually hits the market, expect developers to start writing apps that make these wearables sing. This kind of technology, marketed and productized appropriately, is what makes the technology field so exciting.

We may be on the cusp of the next big thing in business computing. Who would have thought it would be a pair of computerized glasses?

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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