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Microsoft announces new mixed reality apps for the workplace

Between its efforts with HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft has been particularly adamant about the role mixed reality experiences will play in the future of computing. One of the biggest potential growth areas for mixed reality lies in the workplace, which we've already seen in everything from operating rooms to automobile design studios.

At its Build 2018 developer conference, Microsoft announced two new mixed reality apps built for the workplace. Both apps are built with firstline workers in mind, with the aim of enabling "richer experiences that understand the context surrounding people, the things they use, their activities, and relationships," Microsoft says.

The first application, Microsoft Remote Assist, acts as a way for workers to remotely collaborate with experts on their Microsoft Teams contact list. The app includes hands-free video calling, image sharing, and mixed reality annotations – all of which enable the worker to keep their hands free while being guided through a task.

The next application, Microsoft Layout, is essentially a design app for mixed reality. Customers bring 3D models into a room in real-world scale, checking them out in a physical space around them or in virtual reality. The spaces can then be shared and edited with others in real time.

With HoloLens already gaining some traction amongst industrial users, Layout and Remote Assist are interesting additions to the experience. Both apps are expected to be available for free in a limited preview starting May 22.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to

  • I'd rather want QA and UI/UX consistency than two new useless apps.
  • They both look pretty useful, as long as they improve the FOV on the next gen by a good bit. If latency is low enough long distance (network dependent, obviously) remote assist could be very useful for coordinating things with overseas sites. We deal with a site in Singapore all the time, and this would be better than a thousand e-mails back and forth. Not to mention, cheaper and better than flying over there twice a year like one of my techs does now.
  • Again with the negativity. You haven't even tried the apps so how are you already convinced that they're useless? Useless to you maybe, but so is a Mars Rover.
  • It's not negativity. Microsoft's priority isn't straight. Embracing it only makes the things worse.
  • Hassan does have a point. As much as I want to use these apps, MS has a history of not finishing what they start. They can't get their s#!t together.
  • Exactly. It's often a case of not finishing what they started or not going far enough with a good idea.