Microsoft HoloLens 2: New Features for Enterprise Plus Trimble Integration

A rundown of HoloLens 2 features plus Trimble’s XR10 integration.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, one of Microsoft’s biggest reveals was that of the Microsoft HoloLens 2. The original version of the mixed reality headset was released in 2015 to much fanfare. Heralding the dawn of a new phase of computing, Microsoft HoloLens hit a conceptual homerun with its vision of a holographic computer augmenting and replacing traditional desktop computing. In practice, however, the HoloLens was not meant to be a mass consumer product like the smartphone. Instead, it was intended to be a high-end niche product for enterprise customers.

Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2. (Image courtesy of Trimble.)

Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2. (Image courtesy of Trimble.)

HoloLens versus HoloLens 2

The most striking difference is the increased Field-of-View (FoV) in the HoloLens 2. The 52 degrees FoV on the HoloLens 2 is nearly twice as high as its predecessor, which had a FoV of 32 degrees. Another marked improvement is that the transparent holographic lenses (waveguides) now flip up, giving the user the ability to opt-out of “holographic vision”. The battery life extends to 2-3 hours, which is the same as the first version.

The memory has doubled, from 2 GB RAM to 4 GB LPDDR2x system DRAM. Storage remains the same at 64 GB, but the camera quality doubled from 4 MP to 8 MP. The 8 MP camera can also record video in 1080p. The overall weight has been reduced by 13g, from 579g to 566g. The HoloLens 2 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute platform (SoC) instead of the Intel 32-bit architecture and the second-generation custom-built holographic processing unit.  

Wearing the HoloLens 2

Microsoft’s HoloLens engineers have shifted the computing hardware to the back of the headset to address complaints about the top-heavy ergonomics of the previous version. The sensor hardware is still packed into the front of the headset. When a user puts it on, they sign into the Windows Holographic OS through iris-tracking. Using their hands, a user can manipulate a “holographic” desktop with two-handed direct manipulation. This means that you can grab virtual objects as though they were physical and move them around. Like the first version of the HoloLens, the HoloLens 2 is untethered and connects to Wi-Fi.

Pricing and Availability

There are three options available to enterprise customers:

  1. HoloLens 2 with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist: This starts at USD 125 per user, per month through a subscription service and is available from resellers. No custom development is necessary, and users can plug-and-play as soon as they receive the device. The same-day deployment is combined with enterprise-grade security features.
  2. HoloLens 2 (device only): This option costs USD 3500 per headset and gives users access to every feature right away.
  3. HoloLens 2 Development Edition: This version starts at USD 99 per month through a subscription and gives users access to a free trial of Unity with USD 500 in Azure credits for cloud services. The Unity software comes with a PIXYZ Plugin trial as well. The Development Edition is also available to buy outright at USD 3500.

Trimble XR10 for HoloLens 2

The Trimble XR10 for HoloLens 2 is what happens when and industry-standard hardhat gets a high-tech upgrade. The HoloLens 2 is essentially embedded into hard-hats that are used by first-line workers in industries like manufacturing, mining, oil and gas and construction. The XR10 gives users access to Trimble Connect for HoloLens, which is a cloud-based software for hands-free communication and collaboration. The Trimble XR10 passes international certification standards for the majority of markets that require electrical and impact protection.

Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2. (Image courtesy of Trimble.)

Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2. (Image courtesy of Trimble.)

The Trimble XR10 for HoloLens 2 starts shipping next month in December. The updated version of Trimble Connect will also be available next month, starting on December 2nd.