First impressions on the new Microsoft Teams on HoloLens 2

Did you know that Microsoft Guides in HoloLens 2 includes also Microsoft Teams client? And that Microsoft Teams Remote Assist are now available inside the Guides application? I got to try the functionality with my colleague Miska Kytö when I visited Sulava Helsinki office. This time we skipped Guides part and focused on Microsoft Teams and Remote Assist capabilities.

When you open Guides application, you can see there are now a menu that you can use to see your calendar and join meetings directly – even without having to actually use Guides. This makes it really easy to use HoloLenses to join Teams calls if you have a need on site – for example at the factory floor.

I can see that the Guides menu and Mesh for Teams on Meta Quest devices has similarities in the design. Mainly the left side navigation (a bit like Teams 😎 ) and the way app’s front pages are built to the frame.

When you go to Teams you can see your calendar. I forgot to take a screenshot of the calendar, so here is the one Microsoft uses on their blog post

When you are seeing the calendar you can pick a meeting you want to join to. Then you have the option to join the meeting or go back.

In the meeting you can use basic Teams features without problems. We had two HoloLenses and one desktop in the same meeting in this demo.

It is quite cool to be in the Teams meeting using Mixed Reality. We can also see if screen is shared – or we can see content that has been added to the Mixed Reality part of the meeting – for example pictures and PDF documents. Those documents can be either shared to the meeting from the Teams desktop or you can pull in content for you to view from your OneDrive as well. Yes, all your content at OneDrive is there. Only supported file types are shown. For example PowerPoint or Excel wasn’t listed in the directory as pictures and pdfs are the most important documents Field Workers usually need for instructions. We didn’t try video files during the demo, yet.

Microsoft blog post has a good quality photo how you can see the PDF. When you have a pdf open you have up & down arrows to switch pages inside the document.

Shared Screen can be seen and resized so you can see details better. The main window can’t be resized unfortunately.

Microsoft Materials on Guides show a good use case how screen sharing could be used with Field Workers.

The fun fact: When you take a screenshot using HoloLens it doesn’t replicate holograms as well to the picture as you see them when wearing the headset.

People using other devices (like Teams Desktop) can see your HoloLens camera view. Of course we had to have some fun with desktop camera on and see Miska wear HoloLenses.

What is also a nice is the menu that comes up when you use the gesture to bring up Windows menu. It is shown next to your hand so you can switch between Guides, Teams, OneDrive and Account/Settings easily.

Remote Assist Annotation has been built into the Teams app as well. When you are using HoloLenses you are limited to inking on surfaces, but you can highlight specific areas of the room using those when you have a need.

The actions on HoloLens side are limited to inking and changing ink color. At least at this point.

In Teams Desktop you can use MR toolbar to ink and place arrows to the view. You can upload files to the meeting as well.

We did encounter an issue where we could not load PDF and the picture as holograms at the same time. What is good is that bugs (unless this was just an issue on our test, it is also possible) like this get fixed sooner than later.

I really enjoyed the new Microsoft Teams experience on HoloLens. Remote Assist features are now very seamless and you can use them easily, without a need to open a new application. Jumping between Guides and Teams is also easy – you can have a Teams meeting open & visible at the same time as Guides is to get the best support from your expert to the place you need it as Microsoft blog post picture demonstrates.

This new application is still on its early days but it will only get better. If you haven’t started to utilize Remote Assist and / or Guides yes (and you know you could use them in your work environment) then I recommend definitely taking a look at these. Remote Assist is not a new tool, but this upgrade is a great step forward.

Mixed Reality and Microsoft Teams give Industrial Metaverse Field Workers new superpowers!

Read more from the Microsoft article Holographic Microsoft Teams features empower hybrid collaboration in the industrial metaverse

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