Microsoft’s new Hololens 2 mixed reality headset was launched at the Mobile World Congress alongside solutions from Bentley and Trimble.
The launch of Microsoft’s latest Hololens 2 mixed reality product, showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday (25 February 2019), has prompted the immediate announcements of two related products by Bentley Systems and by Trimble.
The Hololens 2 will cost US$3500 and ship later this year* exclusively to businesses, which will also have the option to rent the devices from US$125 a month. As well as being lighter and more comfortable to wear for longer periods, the HoloLens 2 features a much broader field of view, eye-tracking, better gesture recognition, and a heavy emphasis on cloud integration (ZDnet article).
Bentley Synchro XR
Bentley Systems presented Synchro XR, its app for immersively visualising 4D construction digital twins with the new Microsoft HoloLens 2. As a Microsoft mixed reality partner representing the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, Bentley demonstrated how users can interact collaboratively with digital construction models using intuitive gestures to plan, visualise, and experience construction sequencing.
Bentley acquired 4D pioneer Synchro Systems in June 2018, and in October 2018 positioned the Synchro deal as a key step in expanding its construction-oriented toolset, and mentioned integration with Microsoft Hololens was part of the development roadmap.
Project digital twin data is visualized with the HoloLens 2 via Bentley’s ‘connected data environment,’ powered by Microsoft Azure. With the mixed reality solution, construction managers, project schedulers, owner operators, and other project stakeholders can gain insights through immersive visualisation into planned work, construction progress, potential site risks, and safety requirements. Additionally, users can interact with the model together and collaboratively experience 4D objects in space and time, as opposed to traditional interaction with a 2D screen depicting 3D objects.
Noah Eckhouse, senior vice president, project delivery for Bentley Systems, said:
“Our SYNCHRO XR app for HoloLens 2 provides a totally new way to interact with digital twins for infrastructure projects. Users benefit from a new perspective on the design and a deeper, more immediate understanding of the work and project schedule. Instead of using a 2D screen with a mouse and keyboard, the user can now walk around the model with their body and reach out and grab digital objects that appear to co-occupy physical reality. This is a powerful way to review work that is completed and to prepare for upcoming work at the jobsite.”
Menno de Jonge, director of digital construction for the Royal BAM Group, said:
“We are currently using SYNCHRO and HoloLens 2 mixed reality solution for the construction site for a large museum project in the city of Rotterdam. The real need for a digital transformation in our industry is about avoiding rework at our construction site. Using this technology, we can easily visualize the construction schedule. Then, we can see if we are behind in schedule, we can flag any potential problems or issues, look into the problems, and get back on track.”
Alex Kipman, technical fellow, AI and mixed reality at Microsoft, said:
“The newly announced Microsoft HoloLens 2 is a self-contained holographic computer that enables hands-free, heads-up interaction with digital models. It builds on the breakthrough innovation of HoloLens and is even more immersive, more comfortable and delivers industry-leading value right out of the box with partners like Bentley. We’re excited to work with Bentley, a mixed reality partner, to provide the opportunity for customers to take advantage of the HoloLens 2 and SYNCHRO XR technology to experience a new dimension of creativity and teamwork for their AEC projects.”
Update (28 February 2019) – Bentley Systems has announced the call for entries for its 2019 Year in Infrastructure Awards, which will be decided at the YII2019 event in Singapore in October, when the theme will be ‘Advancing BIM through Digital Twins‘.
Trimble announced a new wearable hard hat compatible device that enables workers in safety-controlled environments to access holographic information on the worksite: the Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2. In addition, an expanded set of Trimble software and services will be available to provide field-oriented workflows that leverage constructible 3D models and mixed reality to solve daily work tasks.
The Trimble XR10 is the first device created with the Microsoft HoloLens Customization Program and integrates the latest spatial computing technology into a certified solution for use with a hard hat for worker safety. With a wider field-of-view, improved usability and a unique, flip-up viewscreen, the Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2 combines state-of-the-art mixed reality and safe operation in restricted access work areas.
The full solution provides even greater accessibility to 3D models by front-line workers. Field-oriented workflows enable broad adoption of mixed-reality for jobsite activities to improve efficiency, productivity and quality of work. Continued development of the cloud-based collaboration platform, Trimble Connect™ for HoloLens, is enabling workers in the field to get more value from constructible 3D models and transform daily work such as assembly and inspections.
In early 2018, Trimble acquired, first, Florida, USA-based e-Builder (February 2018) and then Viewpoint (April 2018), incorporating the former UK-based 4Projects and MCS Priority1 businesses, adding them to a collaboration portfolio that already included the Meridian toolset, SketchUp, Trimble Connect and a mobile-oriented platform, Trimble ProjectSight.
Aviad Almagor, director of Trimble’s Mixed-Reality Program, said:
“Microsoft has provided both the vision and execution needed to stay at the forefront of the mixed-reality evolution. We’re excited to extend our collaboration with Microsoft in producing a safety-first mixed-reality solution that can be used in production environments such as construction, where workers are building, monitoring and inspecting products and services that deliver tangible value every day.”
Microsoft’s Kipman said:
“The ability to access and interact with holographic content has inspired new visualization, collaboration, and production workflows in enterprise markets. For people that spend their days on the work site, the Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2 and Trimble’s portfolio of software unlocks the power of mixed-reality to help them get more work done.”
* Update (8 November 2019) – In Germany at A+A 2019, an international trade forum for safety, security and health at work, Trimble has announced it is taking orders for the Trimble XR10 with HoloLens 2 system.