The operating system update for the mixed-reality headset includes improved 3D annotations in Dynamics 365 Guides.

Microsoft logo on the Munich Microsoft building..
Image: dvoevnore/Adobe Stock

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 will now support Windows 11, providing performance updates and more tools for app developers. Owners of the Microsoft mixed-reality headset can expect to see Windows 11 as a free update from their existing Windows 10 by the end of June; those who wish to stay on Windows 10 can do so.

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How to update HoloLens 2 to Windows 11

To update HoloLens 2 to Windows 11, navigate to Settings, select Update & Security and select Check for Updates. This will automatically begin the update.

What does Windows 11 bring to HoloLens?

HoloLens 2 users can expect Windows 11 to offer mostly behind-the-scenes performance changes. Microsoft promises “improv[ed] app performance” and more control for developers.

The latter comes from the Microsoft Edge WebView2 control. WebView2 allows developers to embed HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other web technologies into their HoloLens 2 applications.

Microsoft Teams video calls got quality-of-life updates. Users will be able to switch video on or off during a call and should see more reliable and better quality call streaming.

SEE: Elsewhere, Microsoft offers low-code as a solution to IT teams trying to cut costs.

What changes are coming to Dynamics 365 Guides for HoloLens 2?

At the same time as the upgrade to Windows 11, Microsoft is rolling out improvements for the Dynamics 365 Guides, the feature with which employers can make step-by-step, 3D diagrams to walk employees through tasks. The newest feature is annotation (Figure A), which lets users pin notes or drawings anywhere in the field of view, not just attach them to a specific physical surface.

Figure A

Users pinning notes anywhere in the field of view, not just attach them to a specific physical surface.
Image: Microsoft

Porsche dealership technicians use the new annotations feature for Dynamics 365 Guides on HoloLens 2. The headset can display training content on the appropriate part of the vehicle or provide a hands-free call with a specialist. Image: Microsoft

In addition, HoloLens 2 now comes with an improved security setting called Restricted Mode, and it’s particularly good for companies working with confidential or highly secure data. Restricted Mode gives organizations more control over how and when to share their mixed-reality apps.

Another Dynamics 365 Guides update, which is separate from the Windows 11 rollout, targets industries such as manufacturing that use Good Practice protocols. New guidance on Dynamics 365 Guides for compliance, quality control, risk management and documentation will help manufacturers and other highly regulated industries tailor HoloLens 2 to their use cases while staying within GxP requirements. This update is expected to go live no later than the end of June.

How enterprises use HoloLens 2

Microsoft pointed out that one of its success stories with HoloLens comes from Porsche, which outfits technicians in car dealerships with the headsets to connect to remote repair specialists or to train on the job. Other areas in which mixed reality headsets can be useful for enterprise include engineering, manufacturing, construction and education.

The state of mixed reality for enterprise

The mixed-reality headset market for enterprise seems to be both a volatile space and one in which tech giants continue to try to compete for the device that will really become ubiquitous. Google announced that as of March 15, 2023, it would no longer sell Glass Enterprise Edition, the last remaining version of the company’s attempt at a wearable for work.

Other competitors may emerge as Apple and Meta try to make a better mixed-reality headset. Apple plans to announce its entry in June, according to a Bloomberg report. Smaller company Magic Leap is making waves in this space with its own headset for enterprise. Microsoft may be undecided on whether HoloLens 2 will have a successor, according to The Verge.


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