Will the firstline worker help democratise mixed reality?

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the term “firstline worker” – if like me, you were in the dark, there are more than 2 billion firstline workers that are loosely defined as “the first employees of your company that customers interact with”.

Anyway, it turns out there are a bunch of firstline workers in industries such as manufacturing and healthcare and in these roles (think surgeon, or turbine assembler) they tend to use their hands a lot for their job.

In addition to being hands on, these firstline workers often need to refer to assistive material to in order to complete these hand on tasks – the surgeon might need to look at a scan or the assembler a schematic. Having spent many hours building Lego Technic as a kid, I appreciate how difficult it can be to remember where I was focused as my vision flipped between instructions and the project.

To help with all of this, there are several first party products from Microsoft under the Dynamics family designed specifically for firstline workers:

  • Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
  • Dynamics 365 Guides
  • Dynamics 365 Layout
  • Dynamics 365 Product Visualize

Take a look over here for more detail on what each of these solutions enable: https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/mixed-reality/overview/

As I have watched these products come to market, the developer in me begins to wonder how others can build upon this momentum and while for HoloLens apps, Unity has a ton of documentation and a good community, for your average business apps developer (or really anyone that spends their time writing line of business code) it feels to me like a huge barrier to entry.

Because of this, I’ve decided to wipe the dust off a project from my Virtual World days, the Immersive Media Markup Language which I have been updating to support mixed reality devices such as HoloLens. My hope is that a simple language such as IMML can help empower this group of developers to more easily become mixed reality developers.

Expect more posts on this soon and let me know on Twitter (@craigomatic) if you want to contribute to the project!