XMReality Blog

HoloLens 2: the future of remote support

HoloLens 2 and XMReality visual assistance

XMReality now supports HoloLens 2, Microsoft’s latest smart glasses, increasing our hardware and software independence. This allows us to be present on the user’s choice of device and extend and advance our use cases: from onboarding new personnel to working through step-by-step instructions when assembling complex machinery. The hands-free usage provided through HoloLens 2 is an enabler of remote guidance, both in safety and efficiency aspects.



XMReality - available on HoloLens 2

Since November 2021, we have adapted our user experience for the Microsoft HoloLens 2 smart glasses, supporting XMReality on HoloLens2, HoloLens2 Industrial Edition, and the hardhat-integrated version of HoloLens 2.

While there was once a time when smart glasses were a niche product with limited use, that time has long passed. AR Smart glasses are becoming an increasingly important tool for industries to perform their work, and there are more glasses than ever, which means that it’s more important than ever for smart glasses users to choose the right software solutions to support their mix of devices.

What sets HoloLens 2 apart from many competitors is that they are truly immersive mixed reality glasses with two screens, one in front of each eye, giving stereo-scoping vision and a sense of depth. The HoloLens 2 leverages its depth perception to recognize the floor, roofs, objects, and everything in your surroundings, while simpler glasses typically have only one display or lack awareness of their surroundings. HoloLens 2 also comes with hand tracking, making navigating user interfaces intuitive.

This guide gives an overview of how XMReality and HoloLens 2 work together as the perfect pairing of robust hardware and flexible software and why we see HoloLens as an important part of the future of remote support.

A brief history of HoloLens 2

In 2014, Microsoft acquired Nokia’s Devices and Services division. Microsoft gained several highly talented researchers and patents as part of this acquisition. In January 2015, the company announced the original HoloLens to the world at their key Windows 10 event.

HoloLens 2 was to be the first head-mounted display running the Windows Mixed Reality platform on Windows 10, and at the time, it was designed with a broad enough scope to sit in the consumer market.

2019 Microsoft announced the HoloLens 2 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. H, fully articulated hand tracking, increased comfort to wear over long periods, hands-free interface with fully articulated hand tracking, and increased comfort to wear over long periods. In 2021, an industrial edition for regulated environments and a hardhat-integrated version were available.

The rise of smart glasses

When we started XMReality, smart glasses were considered a niche product. Since then, there has been a huge shift in how smart glasses are used. Today, they are categorized more as generic products in the manufacturing and packaging industries.

One of the trends that we have identified is a shift away from a one-to-one relationship between smart glasses hardware and accompanying software, where smart glasses were purchased for one purpose and delivered with one application. Viewing smart glasses more as a generic device supporting many use cases, and with that many applications, is driving uptake in smart glasses use and has led to more flexible products and an increasing number of use cases for them.

Our response has been to ensure that XMReality software supports a wide range of smart glasses, from simpler glasses suitable for introducing hands-free operations in industrial settings to more capable glasses such as HoloLens 2. In short, we made XMReality compatible with HoloLens 2 smart glasses because they bring out the best in each other.



XMReality and HoloLens 2 - a perfect match

Frictionless use

In remote visual assistance, it pays to reduce barriers wherever you can to create the easiest experience possible for users, and creating a frictionless user experience has become our mantra. XMReality runs on the HoloLens 2 seamlessly and intuitively, eliminating obstacles leading up to calls while they’re active.

Whereas some other forms of remote assistance require receivers to have an account on the same platform as the caller, XMReality on HoloLens 2 doesn’t limit you to HoloLens-to-HoloLens calls; you can tie anyone into the conversation, even users outside your organization. You can send a link via text messages (SMS) from your headset to anyone with a connected device. Recipients do not need to download software or sign up for any service.

Full hands-free usage

Hands-free usage is one effective enabler of remote guidance, both in safety and efficiency aspects. In situations where you may have once needed to look up a solution in a manual, you can now bring people into a call with you without using your hands to help you solve the problem faster. 

While all smart glasses aim to let users retain usage of their hands, not all of them take this feature as far as it can go. With HoloLens 2, all interactions with the glasses happen through your hands in the space in front of you. The smart glasses feature fully articulated hand tracking with the ability to touch, grasp and move objects naturally.

A personalized experience for multiple users

It is not uncommon for all workers on a factory floor to share one or two pairs of smart glasses. The glasses often do not support personal profiles, meaning all users are logged in using the same username. In cases like this, it’s unclear to receivers who they are talking to. XMReality has solved this by making it extremely easy to switch user accounts on smart glasses, but with HoloLens2, personal profile support comes natively. With personal accounts, tens of users can log into the same HoloLens glasses with a simple biometric eye scan and have a unique experience – all with the same pair of smart glasses.

True two-way support

In support and troubleshooting, there is a clear need for human-to-human interaction for receiving instructions or guidance from someone located remotely, such as an expert situated centrally or another field service agent who needs to share knowledge with you. Similarly, with inspections and audits, as a wearer of smart glasses, you typically want to share what you see with remote participants and get their feedback and instructions.

But on top of support, inspections, and audits, remote guidance becomes a two-way street – you can receive instructions and give instructions. You can, for example, stand in front of a machine and demonstrate a complex solution in real-time to people placed remotely for training purposes.

Looking to the future

Smart glasses are now being used for increasing purposes in manufacturing, production, packaging, and other industries. New uses range from onboarding new personnel, where you guide new people through tasks they have never done before, to receiving real-time interactive factory tours to working through complex machinery assembling.

The number of smart glasses on the market keeps increasing, and that trend looks set to continue. XMReality has embraced smart glasses since the company was originally founded, and supporting HoloLens 2 is a natural next step, giving our customers even more freedom of choice regarding what devices to use.

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