Microsoft officially launches Remote Assist and Layout mixed reality apps in preview

Microsoft's new mixed reality workplace apps, Remote Assist and Layout, first introduced at Build 2018, quietly popped up in the Microsoft Store last week without much fanfare. Today, Microsoft is making things official by announcing a limited-time preview for both apps.

To recap, Microsoft Remote Assist is only available for HoloLens, and the app is intended as a way for workers to remotely collaborate with others on their Microsoft Teams contact list. In the app, users can use video calling, image sharing, and mixed reality annotations to get hands-free assistance from others while they work.

Layout, on the other hand, is a type of design app built for mixed reality. The app can be used to view 3D models in a room at real-world scale. This allows users to see how a room will look with objects in the physical space around them or in a virtual space. Layouts created within the app can then be shared with others in real time.

Both apps represent an increased push by Microsoft to make mixed reality a useful workplace tool. That's important, as we've already seen HoloLens being used in everything from operating rooms to car design studios. This week, Microsoft also revealed its plans to extend mixed reality experiences to SharePoint on any device.

During the limited-time preview, Microsoft will be soliciting feedback in order to get the apps ready for their general availability release. If you're curious, you can grab Remote Assist and Layout on the Microsoft Store now.