Upskill launches support for Microsoft HoloLens – TechCrunch
Upskill has been working on a platform to support augmented and mixed reality for almost as long as most people have been aware of the concept. It began developing an agnostic AR/MR platform way back in 2010. Google Glass didn’t even appear until two years later. Today, the company announced the early release of Skylight for Microsoft HoloLens.
Upskill has been developing Skylight as an operating platform to work across all of devices, regardless of the manufacturer, but company co-founder and CEO Brian Ballard sees something special with HoloLens. “What HoloLens does for certain types of experiences, is it actually opens up a lot more real estate to display information in a way that users can take advantage of,” Ballard explained.
He believes the Microsoft device fits well within the broader approach his company has been taking over the last several years to support the range of hardware on the market while developing solutions for hands-free and connected workforce concepts.
“This is about extending Skylight into the spatial computing environment, making sure that those workflows, the collaboration, the connectivity is seamless across all of these different devices,” he told TechCrunch.
Microsoft itself just announced some new HoloLens use cases for its Dynamics 365 platform around remote assistance and 3D layout, use cases which play to the HoloLens strengths, but Ballard says his company is a partner with Microsoft, offering an enhanced, full-stack solution on top of what Microsoft is giving customers out of the box.
That is certain something Microsoft’s Terry Farrell, director of product marketing for mixed reality at Microsoft recognizes and acknowledges. “As adoption of Microsoft HoloLens continues to rapidly increase in industrial settings, Skylight offers a software platform that is flexible and can scale to meet any number of applications well suited for mixed reality experiences,” he said in a statement.
That involves features like spatial content placement, which allows employees to work with digital content in HoloLens and affect the real world hands-free. They enhance this with the ability to see multiple reference materials across multiple windows at the same time, something we are used to doing with a desktop computer, but not with a device on our faces like HoloLens. Finally, users can use hand gestures and simple gazes navigate in virtual space, directing applications or moving windows, as we are used to doing with keyboard or mouse.
Upskill also builds on this with its broad experience securely connecting to back-end systems to pull the information into the mixed reality setting wherever it lives in the enterprise.
The company is based outside of Washington, D.C. in Herndon, Virginia. It has raised over $45 million, according to Crunchbase. Ballard says the company currently has 70 employees. Customers using Skylight include Boeing, GE, Coca-Cola, Telestra and Accenture.