Two new Microsoft Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality updates bolster integrated use cases

July 24 2019

For anyone not sure how mixed reality technology relates to traditional business applications, two updates to Microsoft's Dynamics 365 mixed reality applications offer some more guidance.

Dynamics 365 Guides, the HoloLens-based system that provides instructions to a worker in the form of text, diagrams, and even model-driven 3D images, now offers an integration with Dynamics 365 Field Service, in preview. As Microsoft program manager Mahesh Kamat explains it in the blog post about the update:

When work orders are assigned to technicians, the technicians can use a dedicated Field Service tab in the Guides HoloLens app to launch the assigned guide and do their work.

Not a revolutionary change, but this integration is another step toward blending traditional field service and newer mixed reality scenarios in a way that could resonate with service teams. This capability is planned for the 2019 release wave 2, with the public preview set for August 2019. The release guide states:

Mixed reality guides for Field Service enables Dynamics 365 Guides' capability to be seamlessly integrated within the Field Service experience. Field Service incident types can have associated Dynamics 365 Guides that can be easily accessed by technicians when out on the job site.

Early adopters of Guides include the companies PACCAR and Alaska Airlines. Mixed reality applications general manager Edo de Martin told MSDW in June that Microsoft would continue evolving the product based on customer needs, which include both access to complex 3D models and simpler information like diagrams and written instructions.

For another example of mixed reality technology touching traditional systems, the July release of Dynamics 365 Product Visualize, which provides 3D product visualization through HoloLens or a suitable mobile or tablet device, now stores annotations to the Common Data Service. Previously, annotations had been stored in SharePoint.

"This makes the annotations available to other Dynamics 365 apps or connectors," wrote program manager Mihak Mithani. Product Visualize is typically used for sales scenarios and in configure price quote (CPQ) use cases.

The use of CDS was one of three updates announced for Product Visualize. The others included showing layers of a 3D model and adding gestures for manipulating a 3D object.

Microsoft has been making ongoing progress in tying the Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality apps into other D365 systems. Guides, for example has been held up as a solution that can not only educate or assist workers, but also capture and store training and performance data. Likewise, Remote Assist has, since its early days, been positioned by Microsoft as a pre-built way to tie HoloLens into traditional customer service and field service Dynamics 365 scenarios.

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About Jason Gumpert

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Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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