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Microsoft's Mixed Reality Getting Collaboration Features

SEATTLE -- Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality is getting new features that allow for collaboration at work. At its keynote at the Build developer conference, the company announced new mixed reality features coming first to businesses and frontline workers. They will be available for public preview on May 22.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The first collaboration is Microsoft Remote Assist, which lets workers collaborate remotely with hands-free video calling, mixed reality annotations and image sharing with a combination of a mixed reality headset and HoloLens. You can share whatever you see with people in your Microsoft Teams contact list to solve problems and troubleshoot. This sounds a lot like what Toshiba is doing with its Windows PC-powered AR glasses, but without the pocket PC.

The other, Microsoft Layout, lets users create space in mixed reality. They can import 3D models to create rooms with HoloLens that they can then see in a real-world scale in VR. These rooms can also be edited in real time. The company said it's also looking into being able to gather spacial data from the environment, Microsoft Mixed Reality general manager Lorraine Bardeen said though that's not in the immediate future.

In a video, an aerospace company was able to reorganize the factory floor with HoloLens holograms and MR rather than having to map the whole thing out several times.

Some of Microsoft's mixed reality solutions, like the Cliff House user interface, have trickled down from the business and enterprise space, so it's possible that these new collaboration and design features will one day be available in some form to people with their own headsets.