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US Army Delays Microsoft Headset Deployment As Part Of $21.9B Deal

“The Army is fully committed to its partnership with Microsoft to advance specific technologies to meet operational requirements and maximize warfighter impact,” according to the statement.

Microsoft will wait longer for the United States Army to test and deploy its augmented reality headsets.

September 2022 is when the first units will wear the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) — which is based on Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 — as opposed to earlier in the fiscal year.

“The Army is fully committed to its partnership with Microsoft to advance specific technologies to meet operational requirements and maximize warfighter impact,” according to a statement from the U.S. Army.

[RELATED: Microsoft HoloLens Gets ‘Big Win’ From $21.9 Billion Army Contract]

The Army conducted an “adversarial electronic warfare and cybersecurity test” involving the technology this past September and plans regular testing throughout fiscal year 2022. Fiscal year 2021 ended on Sept. 30.

The Army contract is worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years or less. The solution is “augmented by Microsoft Azure cloud services,” and delivers a platform “that will keep soldiers safer and make them more effective,” according to Microsoft.

IVAS uses a variety of sensors—including night, thermal and soldier-borne sensors—as well as augmented reality and machine learning technologies. “The IVAS aggregates multiple technologies into an architecture that allows the soldier to fight, rehearse, and train using a single platform,” according to the Army.

Phil Walker, CEO of Network Solutions Provider — a Microsoft partner based in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and member of CRN’s 2021 Managed Service Provider 500 — told CRN in an interview that business customers are starting to see the use cases for HoloLens and headsets that offer virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Walker’s company currently has two customers using HoloLens, one in industrial cooling and one that assesses structural issues for manufacturers.

“I still think industrial repair is going to be big. I think land assessments, essentially, can get (big), too,” Walker said. “There’s going to be a lot of things that can happen from a productivity standpoint because you don’t have to touch and feel it. You’re essentially using it and you have information in your heads up display.”

While “business cases are slim” for now, Microsoft should look to partners to deliver more use cases and spur further adoption by business users.

“I think the cost is there,” he said. “I think that the value is there, I think that the technology is ready.”

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