This week, Microsoft uploaded a series of tutorial videos to its YouTube channel for Dynamics 365 Guides, an enterprise AR app that enables companies to author step-by-step AR workflows, or guides, to walk employees through complex tasks and then measure performance to improve processes.
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The Guides app was originally unveiled alongside the HoloLens 2 in February, but the tutorial videos give the business world a bit more insight into how the app works.
After an animated overview of Guides, a pair of videos walk users through the authoring process, which starts via PC before moving on to the HoloLens app.
On the PC, users specify the anchoring method (more on this later), set up the structure for the process, add step-by-step instructions, and upload media and 3D models to go along with the steps as necessary.
During the HoloLens stage, users anchor the guide, place holograms throughout the workspace, add dotted lines and other 3D content, and test the guide.
The next two videos in the series address anchors for tracking of the AR content. The Guides app supports two types of anchors: printed and digital.
The preferred method is the printed anchor, which features Microsoft's own take on the QR code, a three-by-three grid of circles with varying patterns within them.
The digital anchor uses object recognition to identify a component within the workflow, such as machine parts.
This involves matching a 3D model of an object, which can be converted from CAD drawings to a glTF or GLB file format and then uploaded during the PC stage of the process, with a real-world version of that object.
Microsoft also includes a video for the end user. This chapter of the series shows users how to operate the app, including how to use the gaze cursor to select menu items, how to scan an anchor, and how to pin instruction steps in space.
The finale of the series addresses the business intelligence features of Guides. The software includes a dashboard where managers can review each session to see how long the process takes and which steps take the longest, allowing the user to identify workflow inefficiencies.
Managers can then share their findings with the author, who can adjust the guide for better understanding, or use the information to revamp the work process itself.
HoloLens 2 is already shaping up to be the best augmented reality headset on the market upon its release.
But it appears that, despite a crowded field with a multitude of options, Microsoft may also have the best suite of enterprise-grade apps to go with it.