Microsoft has announced the global expansion for HoloLens to six new countries – Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The world’s first self-contained holographic computer is now available for pre-order exclusively from the Microsoft Store in these countries, with devices starting to ship in late November.
Microsoft first announced HoloLens in January 2015 and shipped to developers and commercial partners in Canada and the U.S. in March this year.
According to the company, there is an overwhelming developer and commercial interest in pioneering mixed-reality experiences across the globe. At Case Western Reserve University, for example, the mixed-reality view allows students and faculty to interact with one another and the holographic information the entire time, preserving the critical human connection that is an essential part of learning.
With their partnership with NASA, Microsoft has brought mixed reality to space exploration and discovery, creating new experiences and educational opportunities for scientists and consumers alike. Last month, NASA opened ‘Destination: Mars’ at the Kennedy Space Center to the public allowing visitors to walk around Mars just as NASA scientists do today.
When we set out to pioneer the mixed-reality category, we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered when others got their hands on the technology. It has been quite inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created. Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do. I can’t wait to see what happens next as we welcome these new countries to our holographic landscape.
– Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow, Microsoft Windows and Devices Group
In June this year, Microsoft announced that Windows Holographic, the platform that powers the mixed-reality experiences, is coming to Windows 10 PCs and head-mounted displays next year, thereby increasing the development opportunity significantly. All UWP apps can be made to run on the Windows Holographic platform to take the advantage of the growing ecosystem of Windows Holographic devices.
According to Airbus, the French company that produces passenger aircraft and military transport, Microsoft HoloLens is a promising platform bringing mobility and new ways to consume and link users with digital information. Following their co-development with Microsoft teams, the device is concretely being tested and challenged in various environments across the company.
Saab Australia, part of the Swedish Saab Group which develops defense and civil security solutions, believes that HoloLens is the perfect platform for learning, collaborating or visualizing complex information. According to Inger Lawes, Saab Australia’s Mixed Reality Applications Program Head, it allows both trainers and trainees to share a visually rich interactive experience where the real world can be overlaid with fully interactive holograms. “This technology is transformational, and we have had significant interest from a diverse range of industries such as healthcare and mining, keen to understand how Microsoft HoloLens and tailored mixed-reality applications can add new value to their businesses,” he said.
Microsoft believes that the early adopters of mixed reality solutions are poised for exponential growth in the years to come. According to IDC, “worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.”