Microsoft introduces HoloLens to businesses via Dynamics 365

Microsoft adds two more Dynamics 365 AI apps to its roadmap

Microsoft has announced new AI and mixed-reality applications for its Dynamics 365 business software, putting its augmented-reality goggles HoloLens to use for businesses. Officials reiterated today that Microsoft will start rolling out its October 2018 Dynamics 365 and Power platform deliverables generally on October 1. This capability applies AI and natural language understanding to enable virtual agents, or to assist human agents in helping customers get the answers or actions they need to resolve issues.

The new Dynamics 365 AI apps are targeted at sales people, customer service personnel and marketing teams.

In a blog post Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president for business applications and industry, wrote that these new applications will "deliver out-of-the-box insights by unifying data and infusing it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organisations to take informed actions". With the Remote Assist app, a local engineer can now check on a piece of equipment or problem while wearing a HoloLens, and connect through Skype to project and mark up the image with colleagues offsite.

"Previously it was required to fly in an inspector from Houston to a facility in Singapore once a month to inspect equipment". Before the release of its first apps, Microsoft relied on third-party developers to build their own applications and workflows. "Then I think once you do that, then it naturally leads to the next use case and the next use case after that". Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI-powered bots can be trained by call center managers, asserted Navrina Singh, Microsoft AI principal product lead, during a demo. Mixed reality, Gownder argues, has already proven its viability for businesses, but needs "this kind of continuous software innovation to truly succeed".

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While the Microsoft moves appear effective, industry observers questioned whether they can Microsoft make an impression in Salesforce's massive market footprint, even if they are easier to use, more economical and more intuitive than Salesforce's. She singled out Salesforce as a CRM competitor in her comments. Instead, it has restricted this announcement to the core CRM applications of sales, service and marketing.

I'm also intrigued to hear about the Common Data Service, which suggests to me that Microsoft has taken a big step along the path to creating a modern connected digital enterprise architecture for its business applications.

Disclosure - Salesforce is a diginomica premier partner at time of writing.

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