Microsoft Mixed Reality Hits the Factory Floor With New Apps
The new Remote Assist and Layout apps bring collaborative, AR-enabled equipment maintenance and floorplans to industrial sites.
Microsoft is hoping to make HoloLens a part of the factory floor worker’s toolkit with two new mixed-reality apps. Mixed reality is Microsoft’s take on augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) powered by Windows and backed by an increasing number of the company’s enterprise software offerings.
Unveiled during the software giant’s Build 2018 developer conference May 7-9 in Seattle, Microsoft Remote Assist uses the video-calling capabilities found in Microsoft Teams to help workers collaborate on equipment maintenance or other tasks that could use some expert guidance. Microsoft Teams, a chat-based workgroup collaboration app that rivals Slack, is replacing Skype for Business and therefore inheriting many of the enterprise communication suite’s calling and video conferencing capabilities.
With Remote Assist and a HoloLens headset, workers can contact their colleagues and have them provide virtual assistance while making a repair to a failing piece of factory equipment. It can overlay documentation, arrows and digital ink over a user’s surroundings, helping move the process along. Those offering assistance can use a PC or mobile device on their end.