Technology Record - Issue 27: Winter 2022

50 environments to complete service tasks, get help from remote experts, or receive training.” Workers can also use HoloLens or a mobile device – alongside Microsoft solutions such as Dynamics 365 Field Services, Remote Assist and Guides – to receive step-by-step instructions and remote assistance from experts. In this scenario, the expert can see what the worker sees and annotate the physical world to instruct workers in real time. On top of this, Microsoft is enabling partners and customers to make use of the Dataverse. “It provides a single location to store all your data, improve interoperability and run intelligence across data from various applications,” says Darren Bennett, general manager of mixed reality applications at Microsoft. “Imagine your mixed reality data is stored in the same place as data for your inventory, work orders or internet of things signals; now you are looking at the shortest path from insight to action in the real world.” With the business value of augmented reality and AI so clear, Microsoft’s ecosystem of partners is building on the technologies to deliver further industry-specific solutions. “Many customers have very unique problems that they are using holograms to address,” says Bennett. “Fortunately, there are some very savvy independent software vendors that will build a bespoke experience that a general toolset cannot easily address. This might offer an intense level of accuracy or pushing the limits of the device that might not be a good trade off in a general toolset. Another way that partners are driving the establishment of these technologies in industry is with content. “For example, 30 per cent of words used in a paper manual are used to describe where something goes,” says Bennett. “A holographic arrow pointing to the exact placement removes the need for any of these words, thus simplifying and speeding up the whole process. While we have invested a lot in making our authoring application very easy to use, we have partners who are experts in the creation of training materials. They help customers get started and leave them with a foundation to be able to grow their library of guides to encompass all their procedures.” The work Microsoft is doing with AI and HoloLens is key to helping the firm to achieve its mission of empowering every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. “We have a number of automotive companies using HoloLens to help with training, doing work on the factory floor and giving remote assistance,” says Cheng. “One example is Toyota – it uses HoloLens with Guides in its factories to train new employees from day one.” Mercedes-Benz is another loyal Microsoft customer that is making the most of the latest augmented reality and AI services. It uses the HoloLens Remote Assist feature in its service bays to help technicians deal with its everevolving fleet of vehicles. “Using Microsoft Teams, an expert technician can see what the service centre technician is seeing,” says Cheng. “HoloLens senses the surface of the vehicle they are looking at and shares a 3D description of that surface within the Teams application. The expert can then draw on that surface from wherever they are based; they don’t need to travel to offer COV E R S TOR Y “ We used speech, language understanding and vision to model how people think and communicate” LILI CHENG, MICROSOFT