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How to successfully create your HoloLens concept

  • Posted on October 23, 2017
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
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What do we need to do to develop a HoloLens concept? This is a regular question I get from our clients. My answer is to take an approach which is usable for all innovation projects and tailor that to something, which is specific for a HoloLens implementation. 

If HoloLens technology is new to your organization, user group and technical team, it’s better not to jump straight into a project. You can save time and money by starting with proof of concepts to test your ideas. If something doesn’t seem to work, you can stop developing and try out a new approach. A multidisciplinary team would be needed for this process.  

Set your goals and present results
An important part of developing a successful Hololens prototype is to present results with key stakeholders. Defining this upfront will make sure that the team is focused on the right goals of the concept, as well as the way it should be presented within the organization. 

Start with defining your goals. Take a problem you want to solve, create a challenge or outline the results you want to achieve with this concept. Do you want to showcase your products better, improve training or increase employee satisfaction? Use the outcome of the ideation workshop I described in my previous blog post as input for goals setting.

After you set the initial goal for the concept, you need to define the success criteria. When are you satisfied with the results of the concept? Take into account that it is not always about direct results, like an increase of productivity or sales. Sometimes the outcome of a concept can also be the learning experience, seeing what works and what does not work for future projects.

Define the target audience
It is also very important to understand your target audience. Who will be working with the concept and the final solution? To fully understand your audience and their needs, it’s important to perform user research:
What do they do?
How do they do it?
How much time is spent on it?
What are their pain points?
What are they proud of?

Make sure that you have buy-in from the stakeholders and that they agree on the goals, the potential results and the target audience before you start working on the prototype. There is nothing worse than presenting results that are not relevant for the business or your stakeholders. 

Create your prototype
Now it’s time to execute and deliver the prototype. There are 3 steps in this approach:
1. Proof of Concept: test the desirability of the concept with end users. Is it easy to use, is it helpful, does everything work as it should? To perform a proper user test, create a test group with people from different backgrounds, technical affinity level and roles that will be potentially using the final product and fit in the audience you defined earlier. This ensures the highest amount of valuable data when testing the concept with the users. 
2. Proof of Technology: test the feasibility of the concept by identifying and validating the most important technical challenges for the prototype. For HoloLens specifically, make sure that everything is tested for different environmental circumstances to make sure that the concept is feasible in all required situations. Does the application work in large and small areas, dark and light environments and noisy environments?
3. Proof of Value: test the viability of the concept with the business from different angles. Create a standard business plan that includes the benefits and the required investments. When focusing on the benefits, consider more than just the financial benefits, also look at the social and environmental impact. Will this concept lower the required travel for your employees, thus lowering the environmental impact of your company while also helping to decrease the number of cars on the road?

During the concept phase, the team will work on one or more steps, depending on their skillset and added value. At the end of the prototype phase, process all the results and present these to the stakeholders and organization using the method defined earlier.

Trial and error
Testing a new technology isn’t always easy. There are some things you should bear in mind before you start creating your HoloLens concept. Try to focus on the process and the learnings, and not so much on the final product. There is a chance that the prototype may not deliver the expected results, or perhaps the concept isn’t a viable solution to the problem.

Consider your concept a success when you have learned what works and what doesn’t. Knowing what doesn’t work can be just as valuable as finding out what does. This ensures that large efforts aren’t spent chasing a solution that will not work in the long-term, will not bring any business benefits or is not feasible within a set timeframe.

In my next blog post, I will explain how to set up the right team to create execute a successful prototyping project.

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