HoloLens enterprise apps are now a reality


Microsoft unveiled its HoloLens augmented-reality device more than two years ago. Taking augmented reality a step further than overlaying data on a screen image, HoloLens uses its sensors to , putting them on walls, sofas, tables, and so forth.

In those two years, HoloLens went from a research prototype to , then a fully supported enterprise headset. We’re now seeing the first enterprise applications. Taking advantage of like Unity and the Universal Windows Platform tools in , these new apps go a lot further than the initial demos, with larger, more complex models and much more interactivity via voice and gestures.

Much of that improvement is due to a greater understanding of the limitations of HoloLens hardware. It’s not the fully immersive environment that the videos of some of Microsoft’s first on-stage demos showed. Instead, HoloLens apps give users a relatively narrow field of view, an approach that’s very similar to the heads-up displays in military aircraft. (The reason for the small field of view: the constraints of the holographic lens used to overlay imagery onto the real world.)

HoloLens headsets also are not as powerful as computers because they use the slower but more power-efficient with custom silicon to deliver 3D imagery. Although you can play games with it, a HoloLens headset is far better suited to modeling and displaying fixed environments.