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article imageMicrosoft explains how mixed reality will transform the workplace

By James Walker     Nov 1, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft's announced a new strategy to bring mixed reality to every modern workplace. The company said it believes the tech could lead to significant productivity and efficiency improvements by allowing employees to blend the real and digital worlds.
Microsoft outlined its vision for mixed reality's role in the workplace during its Future Decoded event in London today. The company hosted over 15,000 decision makers and IT leaders to discuss how technology is changing the way businesses operate.
Microsoft's HoloLens is already being used by enterprises in several different industries. The company's now come up with a plan to expand the technology to more workers. It said it's focusing on Firstline Workers and Information Workers after identifying these roles as the most likely to benefit from mixed reality tech.
On the front line
Microsoft said there are over two billion people employed as "firstline workers," people who represent a company to the outside world. They are tasked with finding and supporting customers, presenting business aims and providing demonstrations of the firm's products.
In the digital age, these employees are reliant on data. They increasingly act as mediators between company outsiders and the data pools within the business.
According to Microsoft, mixed reality can streamline their workflow by enabling concurrent access to the real and digital worlds. An employee could use HoloLens to find the answer to a customer's query while they're still explaining the problem.
Informing information workers
Microsoft's also pitching mixed reality to "information workers," people who primarily interact with a company's digital presence. In this scenario, mixed reality will present a new interface to a firm's data. It could increase productivity and collaboration by granting access to information as soon as it's required.
Mixed reality allows people to stay in touch while they're working. Employees can access online resources, training manuals and meeting schedules as they complete tasks, removing the need to switch focus to a different device if information is required.
"Happening now"
Microsoft stressed that mixed reality shouldn’t be dismissed as a gimmick or a fad. According to the company, it's a real technology to "help real people solve real problems with real solutions." It said businesses across the world stand to benefit from the unique opportunities presented by mixed reality.
"At Microsoft, we are on a mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more," said Microsoft. "Mixed reality has the potential to help customers and businesses across the globe do things that until now, have never been possible. Mixed reality experiences will help businesses and their employees complete crucial tasks faster, safer, more efficiently, and create new ways to connect to customers and partners."
Ford uses Microsoft HoloLens to help its designers be more efficient
Ford uses Microsoft HoloLens to help its designers be more efficient
Microsoft / Ford
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As part of its plan to increase HoloLens adoption, the company also announced it's expanding HoloLens availability to 29 more European countries. From December, the headset will be accessible to businesses in over 39 global regions, letting more businesses try out mixed reality workflows.
The hardware expansion and revised strategy will help Microsoft to present mixed reality as a technology relevant to every business. Companies are increasingly demanding modernised workplaces that help them operate more efficiently with improved collaboration. Utilising mixed reality could be one way of achieving these aims.
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