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Microsoft's mixed reality tech is crossing over to Dynamics 365

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Posted by David Monk over 1 year ago

HoloLens is designed to solve business problems and bring the physical and digital worlds together. It has also made mixed reality part of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform product lines.

According to Edo de Martin, general manager for mixed reality apps at Microsoft, his team are basing more Microsoft applications on HoloLens. 

As he explained in an interview with MS Dynamics World: “In mixed reality, we did a bunch of research on how this technology could solve business needs. 

“Based on our research, we came up with four core areas: remote assistance, training, collaborative visualization, and contextual data access, also known as 'your data in your space’.”

Dynamics 365 Guides can be used to help train employees on how to correctly work with assets in a real-world setting. With HoloLens devices, Guides can display customised 3D visuals, training materials and interactive tasks. Plus, using employee data pulled into Power BUI dashboards, it can improve employee performance.

Speaking about Guides, de Martin explained that it came about for two key reasons. Firstly, because businesses were not seeing ROI from classroom-based training and secondly because vital knowledge is being lost as a result of an aging workforce.

This, he says, is where Dynamics 365 comes in. Customers can capture processes that have been missing for years and “take data about training in real time, pumped out to Power BI and read it, understand it, put it into CDS, and then bring [it] together to get insights on training that are completely new.”

He continued: “HoloLens is amazing […] You can see how Dynamics plays a role in stitching it together. And the Power Platform is really key.”

The Dynamics 365 mixed reality product team is taking findings from early adopters to inform the product roadmap. But some of these findings have come as a surprise. 

For example, while the team thought the focus should be on training around complex 3D models built by engineering teams, customers said they just wanted simple digital 3D assets. As a result, the team took a step back from the “heavy 3D stuff”, and made it not the starting point but something to work towards.

Field service scenarios will be a prime area of Dynamics 365 mixed reality use cases, including for Guides. According to the release guide: “Mixed reality guides for Field Service enables Dynamics 365 Guides’ capability to be seamlessly integrated within the Field Service experience. Field Service incident types can have associated Dynamics 365 Guides that can be easily accessed by technicians when out on the jobsite.”

For example, looking up a guide while servicing a device would involve markers to help the user get hands-free access to the relevant guide. The content of that guide could be anything from a 3D model overlaid onto the device to comprehensive documentation.

Hands-free scenarios harnessing the capabilities of HoloLens 2 seem to be front of mind for Microsoft, but mobile and tablet scenarios are also being considered.

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