The Record - Issue 20: Spring 2021

104 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om M ixed reality solutions have broken out of the sphere of concept and are now adding real value to businesses. This is especially true in industries like manufac- turing, construction, engineering and archi- tecture, where the technology is creating new opportunities. “Whether you are creating a spacecraft for Nasa, manufacturing a microchip, or building a data centre, mixed reality is driving tangible impact,” says Rody Senner, North America mixed reality sales lead at Microsoft. “The size of the front-line workforce in this industry is significant – be they scientists, lab operators, technicians or engi- neers. This workforce needs to be ‘heads up and hands free’, with their digital content spatially placed in the flow of their operations. Working on complex molecular structure or operating a multimillion-dollar piece of machinery, a 3D representation can greatly accelerate design, training and collaboration.” And innovations like Microsoft HoloLens are leading the way. Wearing a headset, users can see text, graphics or images overlaid onto their view of the real world. Altoura, CraneMorley and Kognitiv Spark are among the partners that are building upon the technology to create tailored solutions that meet the needs of their customers. For example, mixed reality has been used to carry out repair and maintenance works remotely, conduct inspections and audits with regulatory agencies, suppliers and vendors, and deliver immersive customer experiences. Semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML, for example, deployed HoloLens 2 along- side Dynamics 365 Remote Assist to customise and configure complex products and conduct demonstrations, enabling customers to virtually interact with the products to understand how they work. And mixed reality solutions can also be employed to speed up processes during the man- ufacture of goods. “HoloLens provides complex task guidance for standard operating procedures by integrat- ing step-by-step holographic guidance into the workflow,” says Senner. “This mitigates error during manufacturing or drug development, for example, and reduces the chance of non-compli- ance. Not only that, but by placing instructions right where the work happens, users can dramat- ically reduce time to completion.” When used for training, mixed reality can improve organisational efficiency. “Using a holographic model of the complex machine with guided instructions overlaid, means organisations do not need to take the BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S Mixed reality solutions such as Microsoft HoloLens are enabling manufacturers to work in entirely new ways. Microsoft’s Rody Senner explains how the technology can modernise maintenance and knowledge sharing, and help organisations reach sustainability goals The deal P RODUC T FOCU S : M I C ROSOF T HOLOL ENS real