By: Lindsey Lotze
Early into 2016, all of the buzz for the hottest holiday item revolved around AR and VR simulators. Oculus is perhaps the most well-known, but its capabilities are not seemless enough to entice consumers to succumb to the grand price tag. Although AR and VR devices have amplified ten fold from 2015, I believe it will be another couple years before the devices are perfected to be mass marketed at an “Apple” level.
Of the devices currently on the market, the one to watch is Microsoft’s ingenious Augmented Reality simulator, dubbed the HoloLens. In the midst of the competitive race for the best VR and AR devices, Microsoft’s HoloLens outcompetes contenders such as the Oculus Rift and Google Glass when it comes to honing in on B2B and B2C applications. The HoloLens can be adapted for Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality purposes, and thus it allows consumers to be fully submersed or interact with the live elements that encompass them. Augmented Reality allows for spatial recognition of the real-world environment while overlaying computer-generated sensory input that meshes the virtual with reality. Unlike the Oculus Rift, which is completely immersive, the HoloLens allows the user to play back what they are visualizing to another bystander, who can relate and aid in the conversation of what the user is experiencing as well as be fully aware of the environment that encompasses them. The HoloLens features spatial sound speakers, a state of the art headband that evenly and comfortably distributes it’s weight, the ability to be completely free from phone, PC and wire connectivity and it has more computing power than the average laptop.
Microsoft has not yet released a public prototype, meaning that they are still selling only to developers for a steep price of $3,000 a pop or beta-partnership with business for $5,000. Companies such as Volvo, Audi and Lowes are already working with Microsoft to develop AR and VR solutions for their own personal gain. Volvo’s utilization of the HoloLens includes helping customers understand safety innovations and visually change the color, wheel or trim designs to personalize their vehicles. From a consumer perspective, Microsoft is working with developers to create apps that would allow consumers to three-dimensionally play video games and interact via social applications. If perfected, this device could truly bring a new form to social media.
Microsoft HoloLens. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2016, from http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us
Microsoft HoloLens for Volvo. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2016, from http://www.volvocars.com/intl/About/Our-Stories/Human-Innovations/Pilot-Projects-Umbrella/Hololens
Vanian, J. (2015). How Microsoft plans to make HoloLens attractive for business. Retrieved June 5, 2016, from http://fortune.com/2015/07/06/microsoft-plans-hololens-attractive-businesses/