The US army is in on some HoloLens action! Microsoft has just won a $480 million military contact with the army that will see the company supply prototypes for augmented reality systems.
These will be used on both combat missions and training, with the contract eventually leading to the military purchasing over 100,000 headsets for its augmented reality program — called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System.
IVAS, for short.
As reported, this is about twice as many HoloLens headsets that Microsoft has moved until this spring.
With this contract, the US army instantly becomes one of the most important HoloLens customers for the Redmond based technology giant.
The headsets, according to a government description of the abovementioned program, will increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy.
On the other hand, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the AR hardware will enable troops to make better informed decisions:
“Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area.”
Both the US army and the Israeli military have already used Microsoft HoloLens devices in training, but these plans for live combat are a significant step forward for the headsets. This deal also comes at a time when there has been a pushback against government contracts for these big technology firms.
Google and Amazon, both, were at the receiving end of a storm by employees after their cooperation with the US military and law enforcement agency became public.
For HoloLens, however, this is a big step up, as even though it remains one of the leading consumer grade alternate reality headsets, it has not yet seen the uptick Microsoft may have hoped for in the enterprise space.