What Developers Get From the Microsoft HoloLens Commercial Suite

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-08-04
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    What Developers Get From the Microsoft HoloLens Commercial Suite
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    What Developers Get From the Microsoft HoloLens Commercial Suite

    Commercial Suite provides developers with enterprise-friendly features to enable them to create business and industrial apps for HoloLens VR headsets.
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    The Design Could Change Significantly
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    The Design Could Change Significantly

    It's important to note that the HoloLens available now is a development edition, which means its design could change and it could eventually be removed from the market for a time as Microsoft refines its design. Microsoft seems committed to the device's future, but that doesn't mean it won't change between now and when the final commercial version launches.
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    This Is a Windows 10 Device
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    This Is a Windows 10 Device

    At its heart, HoloLens is a Windows 10 device. The headset is capable of working with Windows 10 computers and apps built for the operating system. The Windows-like interface should make current Windows 10 users feel at home and enable workers to productively use the headset for business and industrial applications.
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    Microsoft Optimizes Skype-Ready HoloLens
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    Microsoft Optimizes Skype-Ready HoloLens

    Microsoft has optimized its Skype platform for HoloLens. The software is capable of letting invited Skype contacts see what a HoloLens user is seeing. In addition, contacts will be able to draw on their screens and those drawings will then be translated to holograms displayed over the real world in which HoloLens users are operating. The combination of Skype and HoloLens will create an entirely new and collaborative experience for Skype users.
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    Microsoft Touts 'Hundreds of Apps'
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    Microsoft Touts 'Hundreds of Apps'

    Although HoloLens is still in development, the device already supports "hundreds of apps," according to Microsoft. That's because HoloLens supports Universal Windows apps, including services like AccuWeather, Box and TED Talks. As one might expect, all Microsoft apps, ranging from PowerPoint to OneDrive, will work with HoloLens. Microsoft says more third-party apps are coming.
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    The Clicker Will Be Important
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    The Clicker Will Be Important

    In addition to the headset, the HoloLens comes with an accessory Microsoft calls the Clicker. The Clicker, which is analogous to a PC mouse, is used in tandem with HoloLens to enable users to select items, scroll through images, hold a page in place and double-click on specific items. Clicker will be central to the HoloLens experience.
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    Microsoft Has Opened Its SDK
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    Microsoft Has Opened Its SDK

    Although some have had access to the HoloLens software development kit for a while, Microsoft has now opened it up to any third-party developers in hopes they will create more consumer and business apps for the headset.
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    Commercial Suite Design to Support Enterprise Adoption
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    Commercial Suite Design to Support Enterprise Adoption

    Commercial Suite will be critical for HoloLens adoption. Commercial Suite provides additional security features, application development tools and a mobile-device management component that establishes policies on how business users can work with the headset. Microsoft also talks about a corporate-friendly warranty on its Commercial Suite page, but didn't provide many details.
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    How Microsoft Wants the Enterprise to Use HoloLens
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    How Microsoft Wants the Enterprise to Use HoloLens

    In a special page designed solely for the enterprise, Microsoft talks about the many ways the enterprise could use HoloLens. Microsoft envisions companies creating special HoloLens apps or using it to evaluate 3D graphics. It's also possible, Microsoft says, to use HoloLens to collaborate more effectively with repair technicians and other field service workers.
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    How the Enterprise Already Is Using HoloLens
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    How the Enterprise Already Is Using HoloLens

    Several companies are using HoloLens already, Microsoft reports. Volvo, for instance, is using HoloLens to help users evaluate its vehicles and pick features. Autodesk, meanwhile, is using HoloLens to collaborate on product-development processes. Additionally, Case Western Reserve University is using HoloLens for educational applications. Expect many more corporate applications to appear as the Commercial Suite gets into the hands of more developers.
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    HoloLens Isn't Priced as an Affordable Consumer Device
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    HoloLens Isn't Priced as an Affordable Consumer Device

    Given its features and the relative youth of augmented reality, it's perhaps no surprise that the HoloLens will cost customers $3,000—a princely sum in a world where competing virtual-reality headsets are usually several hundred dollars. However, Microsoft argues that HoloLens technology is more advanced and that its features are more complex and have greater capabilities. Whether it'll prove to be a good buy, however, remains to be seen.
 

Microsoft HoloLens, the augmented-reality headset that was previously only available to those who signed up for early access, is now on sale as part of the newly released Commercial Suite for $3,000. While Microsoft has said that it's still a development version, early adopters will likely jump at the chance to try it out and build applications for it. They will find this device is quite different from virtual-reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift. For instance, the HoloLens uses augmented reality to overlay graphical objects on the real world instead of placing users in a virtual environment. In addition, Commercial Suite provides product and software developers with enterprise-friendly features that will allow them to create business and industrial applications for HoloLens headsets. Perhaps what's most important to Microsoft is that it's a Universal Windows device, meaning Windows apps will run just fine on the hardware. Microsoft is counting on these factors to make HoloLens a popular wearable for both consumers and enterprise users. This eWEEK slide show will explain why.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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