Microsoft owns the enterprise computing space. Windows-powered PCs run a huge portion of the global workforce. Today, the company demonstrated how its Windows Mixed Reality initiative could potentially be used in that massive market.
During the keynote address of its annual Build conference, Microsoft invited members of the Cirque du Soleil team up on stage. The members each donned a Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset and started showing the crowd how these products can be used in enterprise collaboration.
Together, the team appeared to devise and design a new stage layout for an upcoming production by summoning, altering and positioning simple assets from a menu. These objects could be moved freely by any of the members and all of them could see what was happening to their holographic layout in real time.
The real kicker, however, came when the group decided they needed input from another member of their team who was said to be across the Atlantic in Europe. This new team member was then beamed into the HoloLens wearer’s field of view as a slightly cartoonish avatar. The newcomer was said to be wearing one of Microsoft’s upcoming VR headsets rather than a HoloLens. We checked with Microsoft and though this impressive social VR demonstration is said to be an actual part of the application being shown, this interaction on stage was pre-recorded.
The VR avatar proceeded to join in the on-stage collaboration of the new set by altering the textures on the assets already placed by his AR-powered counterparts. He then left the same way he came by beaming away in a flash of blue light.
All of this represents an impressive use case for how these headsets, both AR and VR, could be used in Microsoft’s all-important enterprise market.
The fact that Microsoft is creating and prioritizing socially collaborative mixed reality is a strong sign that it is taking this new computing paradigm seriously as a tool toward enterprise domination. Groups like NASA already use HoloLens regularly and improvements like this may make headset-based work a very real possibility for our future.
Stay tuned for more updates live from Build as the conference continues.