Microsoft Corporation unveiled two new mixed reality apps for HoloLens – the MS Remote Assist and the MS Layout – at Build 2018, which commenced yesterday at the Washington State Convention Center in Downtown Seattle, Washington, and will last until May 9.
Both the apps will be made available for download as free public previews for a limited period of time, starting May 22.
To better understand what these two mixed-reality apps actually bring to the table, let’s tackle them one at a time.
Microsoft Remote Assist
With Microsoft Remote Assist, the company has endeavored to bring mixed reality into the work ecosystem, allowing first line workers to remotely collaborate with each other in order to solve problems and address issues as quickly and efficiently as ever.
With the help of Remote Assist, HoloLens users can now share images and mixed reality annotations as well as video chat with remote colleagues and experts, staying head-up and hands-free, all the while, to physically implement suggestions and instructions.
Additionally, the worker can live stream and capture videos, should the situation so demand; and, not only does it work both ways, it even allows multiple collaborations.
What’s more is the fact that remote users are not restricted to HoloLens; they can collaborate across devices, including laptops, tablets and PCs running Windows 10.
Although mobile devices can also be used to collaborate with HoloLens, image insertion inking and annotations are not possible on this platform, at least as of now.
While the operating system requirement for HoloLens is RS1, build 10.0.14393.0, remote collaborators not using a HoloLens will require any Windows 10 build for PCs – or, Android or iOS for mobile phones.
Microsoft recommends updating the HoloLens OS to the latest version as and when they are made available because the RS1 OS build 10.0.14393.0 is the minimum HoloLens OS that supports Remote Assist.
While the Remote Assist is being largely looked at as an app suited to business enterprises, it does have the potential to be useful in other areas as well, like training and education, to give an example.
Now that we’ve seen the Microsoft collaboration application, Remote Assist, let’s check out Microsoft Layout to see what’s different here and whether it’s as good as the Assist appears to be.
The Layout mixed-reality concept enables HoloLens users to import 3D models to create and edit ‘real-world scale’ layouts as well as see designs in high-quality holograms in, both, physical as well as virtual space.
“With Microsoft Layout our goal was to build an app that would help people use HoloLens to bring designs from concept to completion using some of the superpowers mixed reality makes possible,” General Manager, Mixed Reality Workplace, Lorraine Bardeen wrote in a blog post.
“With Microsoft Layout customers can import 3-D models to easily create and edit room layouts in real-world scale. Further, you can experience designs as high-quality holograms in physical space or in virtual reality and share and edit with stakeholders in real time,” she added.
Microsoft Layout also works with any Windows Mixed Reality immersive headset with motion controllers, as mentioned on the Microsoft website.
The HoloLens OS has to be upgraded to the RS4 build, which is being made available as a HoloLens update on May 22, to coincide with the app’s release. Instructions for the upgrade will be released soon, says the company.
In fact, you can start testing the build even before the official May 22nd release; all you need to do is access the HoloLens RS4 Preview link here (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/hololens-rs4-preview) and follow the instructions on how to flash the build to your device.
Doing that will get your device ready to receive future pre-release versions of the build, but it does have a downside to it, warns the company.
Setting up the preview will erase all data from your device, restoring it to factory defaults.
Also, there’s always the risk of importing viruses and other issues with the preview build, as is possible with any other pre-release software versions.
“For this reason, Preview builds are made for people who know their way around HoloLens and don’t mind frequent updates with significant changes,” explains Microsoft.
So, if you’re still adamant in checking out the preview version of RS4, make sure you first download the up-to-date version of the Windows Device Recovery Tool and also enroll your device in the Windows Insider Program.
If you’re going to use a Windows Mixed Reality immersive headset instead of the HoloLens, you need a Windows 10 PC with build 16299.0 or above; of course, the Windows 10 PC hardware must meet the headset requirements, which can be checked using the Windows Mixed Reality PC Check app available for download here.
Alternatively, you can access the link below to check the hardware requirements.