Microsoft has long supported real-time video calls using Microsoft Teams on HoloLens 2 headsets, but now the company is bringing full Teams integration to its mixed reality headset. HoloLens 2 users will now be able to freely call people directly, browse and add Teams contacts to calls, and even view calendars and join group meetings.
Microsoft is also allowing HoloLens 2 users to see what people are sharing in meetings, too. A new live video stream of shared screens will appear as a hologram that can be moved and resized.
Microsoft Teams has largely been used on HoloLens 2 for remote assist scenarios where an engineer or support person would dial into a meeting or call and be guided through a problem. Teams users on desktop or mobile will see the HoloLens 2 video feed from the viewpoint of the person who is wearing the headset, similar to how a GoPro on a helmet records the outside world.
Microsoft also has Dynamics 365 Guides for on-the-job training with the HoloLens 2, and it’s combining the Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Guides features to make the HoloLens 2 headset more adaptable to hybrid work scenarios.
HoloLens 2 users can now even use text chat during Teams calls and access images or PDFs shared in a call as holograms. OneDrive integration powers the file sharing and viewing experience, so files are all synced and available across multiple devices.
These software improvements are the first major changes we’ve seen since Alex Kipman, the co-creator of HoloLens, left Microsoft earlier this year after allegations of verbal abuse and sexual harassment. Reports have suggested that Microsoft has scrapped plans for a HoloLens 3 and that it could be the end of the road for the headset. Kipman denied those reports before exiting Microsoft, and now, Microsoft’s new head of mixed reality is hinting that a new HoloLens is on the way.
“We’re just looking for the right design point to make it a meaningful update,” says Scott Evans, Microsoft’s vice president of mixed reality, in a blog about post. “[Businesses] want a successor device that’s going to enable an even higher return on investment.” Evans argues that, unlike consumers who want to replace their devices often, businesses don’t want to make their existing headsets obsolete for only slight improvements. “They don’t need a successor yet, but they want to know it will be there at the right time.”
Microsoft says it’s planning to improve the HoloLens display, tracking, sensors, and battery life in whatever its “meaningful update” to the HoloLens headset will be. Microsoft has also been testing a special version of its HoloLens headset with the US Army. Those tests haven’t been going well, according to reports, with soldiers reportedly complaining about headaches, nausea, and eyestrain. Microsoft won a series of contracts potentially worth tens of billions of dollars to supply the US Army with its AR headsets, and the army took delivery of 5,000 headsets in September.