Skip to content

HoloLens2 and Dynamics 365 Field Service

Finding the Best CRM System Build for your Industry

Author: John Mills | Software Consultant | Formus Professional Software

In this article I want to explore some of the capabilities and benefits the HoloLens currently has with D365 (specifically Field Service) and whether this is something likely to be taken up by organisations now or if we are still some way off ditching traditional screens for a style of working similar to that seen in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi film, Minority Report (Minus the predicting crimes before they happen stuff).

In this article I want to explore some of the capabilities and benefits the HoloLens currently has with D365 (specifically Field Service) and whether this is something likely to be taken up by organisations now or if we are still some way off ditching traditional screens for a style of working similar to that seen in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi film, Minority Report (Minus the predicting crimes before they happen stuff).

For those of you that have seen the Microsoft HoloLens 2 (Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Headset) it’s hard not to get excited about its potential and futuristic feel. For those that haven’t seen the Microsoft HoloLens, I recommend viewing the demo video to get an idea of its capabilities.

While not widely available in the UK yet, expect it to be coming very soon.  As is fitting with Microsoft, they have been actively making the HoloLens compatible with their frontline products, including Dynamics 365.

HoloLens 2 with Dynamics Field Service

There are currently two main features which are going to be available with the HoloLens2.  These are Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist. Below is a quick summary on what they do.

Guides

Guides are effectively a mixed reality training walkthrough.  In more basic terms this means you can see the real world around you while descriptive steps, animated actions and pointers will guide you on specifically where to go and what to do.

For those of you that have used learning path within Dynamics, it is effectively a 3D version of this that can be applied to any task not just system related tasks.

The video does a good job at showing how often in organisations, training has to be administered very quickly and only in a hypothetical or textbook scenario, people are then dropped in to having to put that training in to practice for real on their own.

This can be daunting for people and not being able to take everything in initially leads to things being missed or bad habits creeping in.

Remote Assist

Remote Assist is also a mixed reality tool to help provide field service engineers or technicians with expert assistance from afar.  The engineer who has the HoloLens can hold a mixed reality call with an expert or another engineer who is also using a HoloLens or Microsoft Teams on their mobile device or desktop.

The expert can draw pointers or send files to the engineer to help investigation or show how to resolve an issue. This video gives a good idea of how Remote Assist can work with the HoloLens 2.

You’ll see in the video how an engineering issue is collaboratively resolved. Using Remote Assist the technician was able to have the remote expert see and even interact with the real-world situation in front of her, as easy as if they were using screen share over a digital based issue.

It is often never this straight forward in reality.  However, put in most practical scenarios this still provides a big help in resolving issues faced by field engineers.

Engineers who come up against difficult and technical issue may have to spend a lot of chargeable time in researching and troubleshooting.  In some cases, this may even force them to leave the job and come back with extra assistance which has a negative effect on your first time fix rates.

It could also be helpful in identifying exactly what parts may be needed for a fix, the engineer can contact the parts stores person and seeing the full picture will help them pick the correct parts needed. This again reduces the risk of further visits if the wrong parts are ordered.

Any remote assist calls can be saved as activities in to Dynamics, meaning you have a good record of what went on and this can be used as future training resources for other engineers.  Note that this functionality would require an internet connection, which may prove difficult on some sites.

Interestingly, Remote Assist also has an android app in preview.  This gives you a similar functionality to the HoloLens but a lot less immersive as the interaction is just on a phone screen.

Will Organisations use HoloLens?

In my opinion, no. At least not for now.

This may seem a strange answer against all the very tangible benefits that we have been talking about but I think there are just a few factors that will mean adoption of the HoloLens with Dynamics will be low in its current guise.

So, what are the potential barriers?

  1. Price
    This is the big one.  It’s not clear what the UK pricing will be exactly but at a whopping $3500 per headset in the US, it will certainly put off a lot of suitors.  Especially in a working field service environment where things can and do get damaged.
  2. Stigma of Virtual/Mixed Reality
    Virtual/Mixed reality has never fully taken off like it has always promised to, it’s been around in the public eye for decades now.  This article by Talia Klein Perez for theperspective.com makes some good points as to why that might be. That’s not to say it won’t ever take off but when you bring price in to the equation it’s a risky venture to be an early adopter of this.
  3. Alternatives
    I think most organisations will weigh up the alternatives and in the most part will go for them.  I don’t necessarily feel the alternatives are better just that they will feel more comfortable for most organisations.  There would always be the need for some human checks regarding the quality of new employees’ work, not just their speed but this goes a long way to aid it. In terms of Remote Assist, most engineers now have tablets or mobiles with video calling capability built in.  This doesn’t give you the full benefits remote assist provides but it provides a much more cost-effective method.

What does the Future hold for the HoloLens?

I believe there certainly will be a future for mixed reality within Dynamics.  Guides and Remote Assist are just two out of the great number of possibilities that this format creates.

I think for adoption to happen it will first require the price to come down and its offerings to increase.  It will also need some organisations to initially take the plunge and prove its worth. Return on investment is justifiable when you take away the human cost saved and the savings in improved first time fixes and efficiency on site.  With this in mind; hopefully we will see some early adopters soon.

The one thing from my research on this that I think could see some use in the near future is the Remote Assist mobile application.  This is far more accessible than the HoloLens due to mobile technology being much more widely available and is used already in use at most organisations.

Currently there is a free preview of this available for Android on the Google Play store, which will give you the opportunity to test it for real without a full commitment.  I encourage those of you with Dynamics to give it a go as it is easy to setup and use and as a preview it is very functional.

To do this you will need the following requirements:

  • An Android device with ARCore support
  • A Google Play account
  • For desktop to mobile calls, you will need Microsoft Teams desktop client running Windows 10

If you do want to give it a go, we would be happy to provide any guidance for you.  Enjoy a taste of the future!

Share
Scroll To Top