Tech for your connected self

Microsoft boosts HoloLens and Mixed Reality with new partner program

It wants to give mixed reality a kick in business and retail

Over the last year Microsoft has been expanding its HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program, its initiative for sparking up partnerships with companies to make interesting, useful HoloLens applications. Now it's expanding the program to encompass its Mixed Reality platform - and appropriately renaming it the Mixed Reality Partner Program.

Despite the name, right now Microsoft's Mixed Reality gamut of devices and software is more in the territory of virtual reality, while HoloLens more closely aligns with the mixed reality definition of bringing virtual objects into the real world.

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It seems Microsoft is trying to more closely align its different headset-computing strands with its latest announcements, which makes sense. Microsoft confirmed over email that this now means taking advantage of the entire Windows Mixed Reality platform. The Mixed Reality Partner Program will include systems integrators (SIs) and digital agencies, and bring in companies focused on building MR experience in design, education, architecture and other industries. The program is designed to give these companies the guidance and technical training to build for HoloLens and Microsoft's Mixed Reality.

Microsoft has honed its focus on business before consumers with HoloLens, but we're expecting Microsoft's mixed reality headsets to start hitting the market later this year, and gaming is definitely on the menu - for PC at least, Xbox One is maybe not getting the VR treatment after all.

It's smart for Microsoft to work closely with select developers to make sure their applications really sing. Agencies working with names such as PGA Tour, Boeing and Cirque du Soleil are currently involved in the HoloLens program, but it will be interesting to see what this will mean for the wider MR platform.

Microsoft doubles down on mixed reality with its

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