Guides is the latest Microsoft Dynamics 365 mixed reality app for HoloLens

February 27 2019

Microsoft has introduced Dynamics 365 Guides, a new mixed reality application for the HoloLens that provides workers with work training instructions.

Guides aims to improve on traditional methods like classroom instruction or one-on-one hands-on training that requires limited resources of subject matter experts, according to Microsoft. It is available today in preview and will become generally available on HoloLens 2 later this year.  It runs on the HoloLens and on Windows 10 PCs.

Lorraine Bardeen, general manager for Microsoft's mixed reality business applications, wrote recently that Guides offers a better story for authoring AR or mixed reality training content:

With Guides, we’ve also eliminated a longstanding problem that’s existed with AR and VR experiences: the need for an easy way to create content. In addition to the experience of using Guides on HoloLens, a Guides PC app makes it easy to create interactive content, attach photos and videos, import 3D models, and customize training to turn institutional knowledge into a repeatable learning tool.

Microsoft explains that Guides gives trainees step-by-step instructions as they wear the HoloLens – specifically the HoloLens 2. Users see written instructions, markings, and animated steps as they look at the physical environment. Guides can include photo, video, and 3D model content. Data collected from Guides is available to managers in Power BI dashboards to analyze both training processes and worker performance.

 Microsoft began its mixed reality portfolio within the Dynamics 365 brand in September 2018 with the reveal of Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Layout. Remote Assist will expand from being a HoloLens application to also supporting Android smartphones in the upcoming April 2019 release wave.

Microsoft reports that PACCAR, maker of Kenworth, Peterbilt, and DAF vehicles, is exploring the use of Guides with HoloLens 2 for manufacturing productivity and employee onboarding. As PACCAR's senior director of global technologies, Rob Branson, explains in a profile video, employees typically need multiple training cycles to get up to speed due to product complexity and other factors. He thinks the Guides e-learning method will get workers up to speed "in a compressed timeframe". He also noted the improvements in HoloLens 2 as key to its use, including its increased field of view, and longer duration of wear. PACCAR is exploring the use of Guides for documenting work instructions and bringing in CAD/CAM and parts manual data.

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