Our Microsoft HoloLens II Journey

Our Microsoft HoloLens II Journey

What is the Microsoft Holo Lens?

The HoloLens 2, is Microsoft’s newest version of a mixed reality device for business and industry.  Whereas other virtual and mixed reality focus heavily on gaming and entertainment, the HoloLens is uniquely trying to attract Microsoft’s biggest revenue source – business customers.

In our opinion, this is a very smart play.  We’ve experienced first hand the demand for these devices in an industry setting, especially in areas such as construction, engineering, and industrial services which the majority of our customers happen to be.  All of our customers are very aware of the potential in what these devices can offer, but remain skeptical about it’s real life applications and maybe more importantly, it’s ability to integrate with their existing solutions.  And while we are cautiously optimistic in the case of the Holo Lens, frankly we don’t blame their doubts because having done this for 20+ years, I’ve seen several devices make great  demos in showrooms, only to be proven to be unusable in real world scenarios.

You can read more about the HoloLens as well as watch an introductory video here.

Why does GCS want to get one?

In addition, with the release of the GCS Mach1 product, we have launched a mixed-reality feature set that is ready for development.  We have the requirements, we have the early adopters, we saved a few pennies in the bank, and we are positioned nicely to make a quick push into this space.

GCS is a leader in creating custom, enterprise solutions for industrial service and construction organizations.  Our team has optimized hundreds of business processes over the years for companies ranging from $1M – $17B and have really helped a few of these organizations create a substantial competitive advantage over the years.  It is to no surprise that to many in the industry, we are the first group they turn to discuss projects in this exciting space.

So, we’re sold and as I’ve mentioned, we’ve been trying to get our hands on once for months now.  This week, this press release was published by Microsoft, mentioning that this device was finally available to ship to customers.  Our engineers were excited, our ownership was excited, and we were all set to order 2-3 of these devices to be shipped immediately.

So, let’s get one right!!

Or, so we thought at least.

On first visit to the pricing page, we are presented with what appears to be 3 distinct options for purchasing the device.  However, in looking further, there are really only 2 options: buy a device for $3,500 USD or pay a licensing/usage fee of $125/month/user. 

Note:  the Development Edition process is very attractive, but after signing up (filling out a long form) we get the following email, which needless to say means, thanks you but we’re not ready. 

Microsoft’s reply to our request

Tip:  you will need your Microsoft Partner Program ID to complete signup.

Next up, let’s just buy a device.  After all, we have the business case and have the funds so we are ready to go.  However, once again, going down this route simply leads you to another form where someone will contact you.  Nothing keeps momentum as much as waiting for a phone call from a company like Microsoft does it?!?

So, the third options (per user) is the only thing we left and while we would prefer to buy the device outright, this is an easier option to start with.  However, once again, this route leaves us disappointed as our only two options appear to be

  1. Talk to a specialist – yeah, no thanks.
  2. Preorder HoloLens – which is basically a generic form that I’m sure $3.4B other people have filled out, including every bot not named Rosie or Wall-E.

So, where are we after all this…nowhere really other than just waiting.  But waiting isn’t going to cut it this time and the executive team has a few ideas to try to get one of these devices that just may be crazy enough to work. 

Stay tuned for Part II – Fending off the bear when we take unusual approaches to trying to actually purchase one of these devices.

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