While Virtual Reality is the big hype in Silicon Valley, Augmented Reality will impact businesses
We imagine video game addicts sprawled on their sofas donning VR headgear to blast virtual aliens. That is happening already.
But the better business strategy in the long run is catering to companies and business professionals.
Businesses are the target audience off the bat for Microsoft and its HoloLens project, goggles that mix virtual images — the terrain of Mars, for example, or a helpful electrical expert — with the real world. This sister of VR is called Augmented Reality and is on full display in Pokemon Go. Yes, the fun-and-games potential for HoloLens is huge. When Microsoft first showed off the gadget 18 months ago, it made sure to let people try an AR version of its “Minecraft” video game.
Microsoft, though, mostly has businesses in its HoloLens sights. The company this week expanded availability of HoloLens gear to all U.S. and Canadian businesses. Microsoft has also stressed how architects are trying out HoloLens to collaborate on building designs and how medical students are getting in-depth anatomy lessons in AR. In a very corporate pitch, the company highlighted that business professionals can even use HoloLens to log into their companies’ virtual private networks. I don’t remember VPNs being mentioned in “Snow Crash,” the 1990s science-fiction novel that stoked enthusiasmfor (and fear of) virtual reality.