Microsoft Layout and Remote Assist: Consolidation, Disruption, Or Both?

J.C. Kuang, Analyst Augmented Reality, Enterprise Transformation, Insight Articles

Microsoft HoloLens
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The announcement of two new apps coming to Microsoft Hololens users represents a significant shakeup in the current content market for the company's holographic computer.

Microsoft Remote Assist and Microsoft Layout are indicative of yet another bold refocusing of priorities at Redmond. Lorraine Bardeen of Mixed Reality Workplaces noted that the apps came about as a result of

"...expanding our focus from Information Workers to include Firstline Workers... the first to the customer and the first to the problem... who primarily interact with customers, as well as people who create and operate products, machines, and spaces... Over the past two years... we discovered that the highest value workflows are around remote assistance, space planning, training and development, product development collaboration, and access to spatial data from IoT devices."

By singling out these high-value workflows, Microsoft has successfully identified fruitful focus areas for which their newly-minted Cloud + AI divisions can deploy new solutions and vastly improve the overall value proposition behind the Hololens platform.

Value Propositions

However, in doing so. the company has also reduced the value of a significant number of software suites which perform similar functions to Layout and Remote Assistance, empowering Hololens clients to migrate a greater percentage of their existing mixed reality workflows onto Microsoft's own Windows ecosystem. Naturally, a number of the platform's high profile software partners offer services focused heavily on these high-value workflows. The following firms provide solutions similar to the new Microsoft applications:

While it is obvious that Remote Assistance and Layout do not represent a 1:1 replication of all of these services, or indeed any one, the fact that Microsoft has decided to deliver such powerful tools speaks to the company's continuing intent to offer what Satya Nadella has called "a unifying product ethos across our end-user experiences and devices."

In order to remain competitive in the enterprise solutions market, current and future developers for the Hololens platform would do well to closely examine other high-value workflows identified by Microsoft and aspire to provide solutions which go above and beyond in addressing and improving them.

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