Today at Microsoft’s Day 1 Build keynote, AR and VR has definitely been a sideshow so far, but the company did have some announcements related to enterprise apps on the HoloLens. The company detailed two new apps, Remote Assist and Layout, which will be coming May 22.
The new Remote Assist app from Microsoft is the company’s realization of a use case that has long been a core promise of AR in the workplace: hands-free telepresence that lets the other person see what you’re seeing. This sort of screen sharing of the real world can allow a worker in a manufacturing facility to ping a specialist and get quick annotations and advice about tackling a particular problem.
This problem has been one that numerous companies in the AR enterprise space have been tackling, though Remote Assist is still more rudimentary than products from startups like Scope AR, which allow users to integrate CAD files that can be mapped directly onto machinery.
The advantage with Microsoft’s offering is, of course, its deep integration within the ecosystem. Remote Assist is built closely with Teams so it will be easy to grab the relevant person for whom you have a question. Microsoft also boasts “industry-leading identity and security measures” thanks to Azure Active Directory login and Mobile Device Management.
Microsoft also announced an application called Layout, which basically allows HoloLens users to drop 3D objects into rooms based on the geometry of the space. This is essentially similar to what a lot of the ARKit and ARCore apps for your phone have done with furniture retailers for sizing stuff in the context of your own home. With Layout’s enterprise skew, there’s more of a focus on designing spaces with CAD models that you are sent. The app has support for both HoloLens and the company’s VR headsets.
Both of these apps should be launching at the end of the month.