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HoloLens 2
April 13, 2023

Microsoft brings Windows 11 to HoloLens 2

The industrial metaverse is revolutionizing industries. Cutting-edge technologies like cloud and edge computing, digital twins and machine learning simulations are enabling organizations to better understand, predict and interact with the physical world. Industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare are seeing the benefits as they embrace new capabilities like remote collaboration, 3D visualization and AI-based predictions.

At the forefront of this technological revolution is mixed reality, which helps organizations bring together digital information and physical systems in innovative ways. Microsoft is deeply invested in this space, and we are excited to share the latest developments for HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Guides, core products in our mixed reality portfolio.

HoloLens 2 is the industrial metaverse technology that our customers use to deliver immersive experiences that enable real-time collaboration and empower frontline workers. As part of our strategic commitment to HoloLens 2 and mixed reality, Microsoft is pleased to announce that Windows 11 is coming to HoloLens 2 as a free upgrade in H1 of this calendar year.

Windows 11 enhances HoloLens 2 security and provides the latest tools for developers

Our newest operating system, Windows 11, is designed with security at its core. In rolling out Microsoft’s latest OS on HoloLens 2, our mixed reality community can feel confident when building and deploying end-to-end solutions. The free upgrade to Windows 11 promises continuous platform support, meaning our customers can trust in the continued security of their devices. With the upgrade, HoloLens 2 users will continue to receive monthly security servicing updates that reinforce the protection of sensitive information while also improving app performance.

In addition, as part of the upgrade, we’re excited to share that the latest developer tools, like Microsoft Edge WebView2 control, will now be available in preview on HoloLens 2. This gives dev teams the ability to embed web technologies (including HTML, CSS and JavaScript) into their native applications.

HoloLens 2 has been changing the way frontline workers collaborate, learn and work in industrial settings, from factories to service locations and supply chain warehouses. The platform provides a wide range of applications in the manufacturing, automotive and healthcare industries, resulting in an impressive return on investment (ROI) for customers. For example, businesses have experienced a 60% increase in training efficiency, a 75% reduction in annual travel expenses and higher productivity for field workers, leading to average savings of $1.3 million in labor costs. (Read more about the benefits of HoloLens 2.) Now, by upgrading to Windows 11, HoloLens 2 will continue to provide these tools and benefits while ensuring the most secure mixed reality environments for our industrial metaverse customers.

Upgrade HoloLens 2 to Windows 11 for free

Upon availability, customers can upgrade their device by navigating to Settings → Update & Security → Check for Updates. This will automatically trigger the system upgrade. This is an optional upgrade, and customers can continue using Windows 10 on HoloLens 2 if they prefer.

New features in Dynamics 365 Guides

Improved 3D annotations, security, Teams calls and more

Alongside the release of Windows 11 on HoloLens 2, Microsoft has rolled out exciting features for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides, which are now available. These recently released features improve the intuitive and collaborative abilities of Microsoft mixed reality.

Arrows and lines superimposed over a photograph of a vehicle being manufactured

3D annotations

We’re releasing a groundbreaking improvement to Dynamics 365 Guides with a new annotation feature that allows users to annotate anything around them within arm’s reach, creating a seamless blend of physical and virtual content. 3D drawings don’t need to be attached to a machine or surface − users can apply them anywhere, granting more freedom when illustrating complex processes to frontline workers in the field. Additionally, any annotation that needs to be made on a complex surface within eyesight will have improved accuracy with this update.

Custom security

We’re also rolling out a custom security feature for Dynamics 365 Guides called “Restricted Mode,” which gives organizations more control over their mixed reality apps. This is a significant update for highly confidential facilities looking to enforce stricter access controls around systems and information deployed on HoloLens 2. Companies can better prevent unauthorized access to confidential information and highly sensitive data.

GxP industry guidance

For regulated industries that must comply with Good Practice (GxP) protocols to ensure products consistently meet the bar for quality, we’re introducing new industry guidance for Dynamics 365 Guides. In recent years, the Guides application has become an invaluable tool for manufacturers when it comes to training, upskilling and improving production processes. We continue building on this value by refining industrial use cases on Guides to further address compliance, quality control, risk management and documentation − all key elements a manufacturer needs to adhere to GxP protocols. Our new guidance, developed in partnership with NNIT in Denmark, is meant to help highly regulated industries take advantage of these MR capabilities while following best practices. Customers can expect to see this guidance published in H1 of this calendar year.

Microsoft Teams calls on HoloLens 2

Building on the integration of Microsoft Teams with Dynamics 365 Guides, we are continuously pushing new updates to Teams calls within Guides to enhance the experience. Our latest Guides update includes additional features like the ability to toggle video on or off before a call, in addition to improving the reliability and quality of call streaming.

Porsche revolutionizes automotive service experiences with HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Guides

Our continued enhancements to HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality apps help empower customers, like Porsche Cars North America, to revolutionize skilling, training and customer experiences. With a name that stands for innovation like few others in the automotive industry, Porsche Cars North America is driving its cloud transformation initiatives by embracing innovative technologies to enhance the efficiency and consistency of the company’s automotive services in the U.S.

With HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Guides, technicians at Porsche Cars North America dealerships can now view the world around them in 3D while connecting with a remote expert who can support highly technical service requests. This technology also allows Porsche dealership technicians to view 3D holograms of a car and participate in remote interactive training classes. Upskilling and retaining top talent is now more cost-efficient, and technical services take less time while still meeting the company’s high bar for quality and exceptional customer service.

Two men wearing HoloLens devices as they look into the engine compartment of a car, along with elements showing what they see on their devices
Man wearing a HoloLens device

We’re excited to roll out these new features to our mixed reality product portfolio. We look forward to continuing to innovate in both hardware and software to deliver immersive experiences that empower organizations and improve productivity, collaboration and customer experiences.