Will HoloLens become the next big industry disruptor?

  • Posted on July 15, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

As a leader of the Avanade Digital Innovation Studios, I have to stay on the cutting edge of new technologies and always be thinking how we might use them to help solve customer problems. HoloLens 2 is one of those technologies in which I see huge opportunity. One of the biggest challenges companies face is developing and maintain the skills of their employees and then having those skilled employees in the right place at the right time. Imagine if you could use technology to instantly have the right person with the right skills anywhere in the world that you need them.

How HoloLens becomes a game changer for you
Imagine this scenario. It’s 3pm on an ordinary Tuesday and you are notified of a level 1 outage. This outage has caused your business to come to a halt and every minute of unplanned downtime is revenue lost. To make matters worse, this location does not have the necessary resources on site to make the repair. Enter HoloLens 2 and Emma, one of your experts that is located remotely, to guide an onsite resource through the troubleshooting and repair. As soon as the HoloLens is placed on the head of the onsite resource, it is as if she is working side by side with Emma. HoloLens allows Emma to see everything as if she were there. She is able to walk the local resource through the troubleshooting process, identify the problem, place instructions and holographics images into the local resources field of view and track the hand motions of the local resource as she makes the repair. All systems are back online and the cost of the outage was minimized through the use of HoloLens 2.

That scenario might seem farfetched, but that is the exact demo that I experienced with Microsoft. I was that onsite resource, lacking the knowledge and expertise to complete the repair, that teamed with Emma to safely complete the repair. After the HoloLens 2 demo, my mind was racing with business possibilities. 
As its name suggests, mixed reality harmonizes the physical and digital worlds in a way that is both transcendent and grounded, abundant in possibility and practical. Microsoft’s approach is sophisticated and elegant – one of the best examples I’ve seen of the company’s strategy to bring the full power if its intelligent cloud and intelligent devices in a single experience. 

Blending physical and digital is no longer new or novel in the enterprise or unexpected by consumers. Traditional retailers have been offering to buy online and pick up in-store for the past decade. Supply chains and inventory management are largely digitized and the ubiquity of connected devices, sensors and the internet of things have created modern conveniences we expect every day. 

HoloLens 2 takes it to the next level
HoloLens 2 isn’t just about blending physical and digital, it’s something more. It’s different. I consider how mixing the physical and digital world might transform industries like healthcare, manufacturing and field service where specialized skills are required by workers that need to make precise, complex maneuvers with their hands in a timely fashion and where remote collaboration can be a shared experience in a single physical space. I can imagine medical review boards like the MD Anderson Cancer Center taking collaborative care one step further and convening in real time around a patient at the point of need, saving time and money and improving outcomes. I see providers like Mayo Clinic remoting into far away doctor’s offices to provide a medical consult. I envision our aging workforce to be succeeded by employees aided by humans and enabled by artificial to learn new skills faster and collaborate effectively across highly distributed organizations and geographies. 

But above all else, I keep coming back to the massive potential for organizations to use this technology to create immersive new experiences that usher in new business models. If recent history is any indicator of the future, the winners in every industry will be those who are ready to deliver its customers and employees innovative new experiences. I witnessed firsthand at this year’s Sitecore Symposium how Avanade client’s Volvo, Merck Manual, Philippine Airlines and Open University gave users highly personalized digital experiences to create value, win market share (and industry awards) and delight its customers. Organizations in every industry are using modern software development techniques and human-centric design principles to introduce new digital products and services and create competitive advantage. Forrester suggests that by 2025, “more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies will have led disruptive innovations” and Avanade’s own research has found that companies who are Ready by Design are able to achieve sustainable leadership positions in their industry.

Will Microsoft HoloLens become a breakthrough product in the Fortune 500? It’s far too soon to tell. But one thing is certain, companies who are Ready by Design to build innovative applications for HoloLens and enable new business models will be among the disruptors. 

To hear more of Justin’s thoughts, visit his Microsoft Inspire session: Winning mixed reality scenarios and results on Tuesday, July 16 at 4pm in Oceanside G (Theater).

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