Although someday Microsoft’s HoloLens (or at least a future version of it) will most likely become a consumer device, for now the $3,000 HMD is an industry play. (Actually, the dev kit is $3,000; the Commercial Suite is a cool $5,000.) Microsoft has been diligently pushing it in that field, and to that end the company announced that it’s expanding its HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program to another six partners in Europe.
The groups joining the fun are:
•Black Marble (UK)•Fundamental VR (UK)•Holoforge (France)•Immersion (France)•REWIND (UK)•Zuhlke (Germany)
Microsoft explained that there are multiple ways companies can get involved with mixed reality and HoloLens. Devs can use the SDK to build their own experiences, and companies can join the Enterprise Accelerator Program, wherein they work directly with Microsoft. There are also “off the shelf” apps like Sketchup Viewer and Skype for HoloLens, Microsoft noted.
And then there’s the HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program. Microsoft said that agencies in the program “have all gone through extensive, hands-on training with our team.” Companies in this program are equipped to help other companies develop HoloLens applications and experiences.
“Working with one of our hand-selected HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners is one of the quickest ways to get started with creating mixed reality applications that can transform working with 3D data, bringing new products and information to life, and creating new opportunities for business growth,” read a Microsoft press release in part.
Black Marble offers multiple ways to help companies get rolling in mixed reality. Its HoloLens Workshop explains the basics. In its Holographic Vision, the company will help you figure out what your mixed reality experience will look like, and its Holographic Proof of Concept and Holographic Application programs help companies “realize your vision” and start to actually make a HoloLens solution, respectively.
Fundamental VR explains on its site that “We provide strategic support to help map your journey into VR, MR and AR. Our production, creative and programming resource delivers impactful virtual experiences and our IP lab builds cutting edge platforms and technology to accelerate time to market.” It specializes in “medical training and procedures, workplace collaboration tools and education training.”
Holoforge Interactive said it has four years of HoloLens experience and uses its own proprietary engine and tools as well as the Unity game engine to build “tailored applications.” The company has worked with partners in fields including aeronautics/marine, automotive, energy, geotech, museums, entertainment parks, media, real estate, data visualization, and more.
France’s Immersion has been at it since 1994 and said that it “develops and integrates high-end display systems and interaction devices, in order to test, design, simulate and agree in real-time around the virtual mock-up.” It’s worked in many of the same industries as HoloForge Interactive, as well as aerospace, defense, health, education, and more.
Rewind describes its work by saying that “We combine cutting edge technology with strategic thinking to create immersive virtual, physical and digital narratives for your brand.” This includes virtual reality production, digital Out of Home (OOH) marketing, post production for CGI and visual effects for films, and 360-degree videos.
Zühlke is a little less specific about what it does. At a high level, it “will help companies transform their vision from a smart idea into a resounding market success.” The company has local teams dotting the globe (in Austria, Germany, Serbia, Switzerland and the UK) working in fields “from machinery and plant engineering, to medical technology and the financial sector.”
These six European countries join nearly a dozen North American companies in the HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program.