Microsoft's military hololens reaches major milestone
Microsoft was able to agree on a lucrative Hololens deal with the US military. But the project has not gone as planned so far. It now reached a "huge milestone".
According to interim reports from the Pentagon, the soldiers primarily had to fight with the technology so far. The AR headset's display in particular is said to be a weak point during maneuvers because of its narrow field of view. Most recently, it was said that the military Hololens (IVAS) had not yet proven its suitability for combat.
Is Microsoft averting the worst-case scenario?
In early March, some Microsoft employees were still assuming that only minor improvements could be made to the hardware and that further criticism would follow. Microsoft even expected that the U.S. Army might discontinue the project.
That would have hurt Microsoft: Because of the prestige, but also financially - after all, the 120,000 AR headsets ordered according to the contract could pour around 22 billion US dollars into Microsoft's pockets by around 2028. That is a lot of money, even for the software giant.
Military Hololens reaches important milestone
In an internal email, Microsoft's cloud and AI chief Scott Guthrie now gives an update on the IVAS project. According to this, the current prototype has been released for an "operational test", the next stage in the evaluation for the AR headset's suitability for combat.
"This is a huge milestone for the team, and the culmination of years of hard work," Guthrie writes.
A U.S. Army spokesman confirmed the next phase of testing in early May. Feedback from soldiers has been positive, he said, and sufficient progress has been made in the technical areas that had delayed the project to authorize the operational test.
Microsoft continues to focus on the business metaverse
Guthrie also praised an XR meetings project with consulting firm Accenture that is based on Microsoft's XR infrastructure software Mesh. He wrote that thanks to the presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Microsoft now has "tremendous demand" from customers asking for similar projects.
Microsoft doesn't seem to have sworn off XR hardware in general, even if much is uncertain about Hololens at the moment. Guthrie said Microsoft is working on better mixed reality hardware and continuing to work on the Mesh collaboration platform for "more immersive Metaverse experiences." Microsoft is rumored to be partnering with Samsung for a new XR device.