Is Dynamics 365 going to alter our reality?

Is Dynamics 365 going to alter our reality?

Most people have heard of Virtual Reality (VR) where you don a headset and become immersed in a computer generated world, but you might not have have heard of another emerging technology called Augmented Reality (AR). Neil Fraser mulls over the impact of AR on Microsoft Dynamics 365.


What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality adds virtual information to your natural environment, blurring the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see and hear. So graphics and sounds can be overlaid into your natural world to create an enhanced experience. As with VR you still need a headset with glasses, but images can then be projected to the inside of the glass and made to look like holograms floating in the air in front of you. While the headsets are hardly inconspicuous, it is predicted that eventually they’ll look just like an ordinary pair of glasses. Pretty cool don’t you think? Think of Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’ when he uses a futuristic computer and grabs data out of thin air, resizes it and moves it around him in the room. Imagine being able to pull that out of the bag at your next presentation…



Where can I get one?

The Microsoft headset is called the HoloLens but despite having been launched in 2016 I’ve never seen one in real life. Why? Because they have still only released the developers edition and for most people they are prohibitively expensive: MS Store £2,719.  However other companies are starting to make AR headsets including Acer, HP, Lenovo, Asus and Dell, with a more competitive price point of around £300 – £400.

Microsoft's HoloLens


Where does Dynamics 365 fit into all this?

The ‘Remote Assist’ application within the Dynamics 365 suite is bringing new meaning to the remote hands. The large oil company Chevron has purchased hundreds of HoloLens and is leading the field by applying it to their operations globally. The HoloLens allows remote, expert engineers see what people on-site can see. Rather than the engineers having to make a site visit, they can talk to people on-site and either draw or display diagrams on the real life objects in front of the end user.  The technology is revolutionising the first-line worker experience, improving performance and speeding up global collaboration.




What next?

Mixed reality can already be used in the office environment, allowing users to look at virtual monitors or holograms in the workplace. For me this opens up some interesting ways of interacting and visualising data. As with many businesses we have employees based all over the world. We all work together on projects from various locations and I am keen to see if mixed reality can be used to help us all collaborate more effectively. Perhaps AR will help us to sift through data to find the source of performance problems and collaborate on the data between remote offices. Watch this space…


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