Microsoft has launched HoloLens in Singapore, creating new market opportunities for developers and partners across the channel.
Effective 12 April, the self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10 is now available in 41 countries, including Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand across Asia.
“At Microsoft, we are on a mission to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more,” Microsoft Singapore, Windows and devices business group lead, Veronica Chiu, said.
“Mixed reality has the potential to help customers and businesses across the globe and in Singapore do things that, until now, have never been possible.
“Mixed reality experiences will help businesses and their employees to complete crucial tasks faster, safer, more efficiently, and create new ways to connect to customers and partners.”
In Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s Lab on Wheels program launched an Immersive Media themed bus in March, designed to provide mixed reality experiences to schools and the community.
Leveraging education partner, Serl.io, the bus aims to educate students and the community about how immersive media technologies can impact the way they learn, work, live and play.
Of note to channel resellers and partners, Microsoft HoloLens will be available in two configurations locally, spanning Microsoft HoloLens Developer Edition and Commercial Suite.
The launch of HoloLens in Singapore comes as worldwide spending on augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) prepares to reach US$17.8 billion in 2018, representing an increase of nearly 95 per cent over the $9.1 billion the year previous.
According to IDC findings, and specific to the Asia Pacific region, spending is expected to reach US$5.1 billion during the next 12 months, ahead of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (US$3 billion) but behind the US (US$6.4 billion).
“Virtual reality will continue to drive greater levels of spending in the next 12-18 months, as both consumer and commercial use cases gain traction,” IDC program vice president of devices, Tom Mainelli, said.
“There is currently a huge appetite from companies that see tremendous potential in the technology, from product design to retail sales to employee training.
“Meanwhile, the augmented reality market will deliver more modest levels of spending near term with mobile AR on smartphones and tablets likely to garner the most attention from consumers, while head-mounted displays will primarily sell into commercial use cases.”
As explained by Mainelli, the consumer sector will remain the single largest source of spending for AR/VR products and services with worldwide spending in 2018 expected to reach US$6.8 billion.
In contrast, the commercial sectors will represent more than 60 per cent of AR/VR spending in 2018 and grow to more than 85 per cent of the worldwide total in 2021.
From a reseller perspective, the largest of the commercial sectors in 2018 will be distribution and services (US$4.1 billion), led by the retail, transportation, and professional services industries.
Delving deeper, the second largest sector will be manufacturing and resources (US$3.2 billion) with balanced spending across the process manufacturing, construction, and discrete manufacturing industries.
Retail will be the industry with the largest AR/VR spending in 2018, followed by the process manufacturing and construction industries.
“Commercial entities are ready to embrace virtual reality for both customer-facing use cases and internal ones,” IDC research director, Marcus Torchia, added.
“There are a lot of opportunities here to develop commercial-grade hardware and applications that meet the needs of these industries.
“Meanwhile, phone-based AR is likely to garner most of the excitement for the near term and many companies are already experimenting with AR apps and services. Some of these will be useful, many won't be, but over the course of the next 12–18 months, we should start to see developers beginning to grasp the potential of AR.”