Microsoft has announced a new Mixed Reality Partner Program that opens up its existing HoloLens agency certification program to include systems integrators (SIs).
Way back in early 2016, Microsoft launched its HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner program to creative agencies in North America, followed a year later by Europe. In a nutshell, the program has been about training and educating creative agencies to develop awesome and mind-blowing applications for mixed reality headsets, such as Microsoft’s very own HoloLens.
While companies are already free to build apps for HoloLens in-house, using Microsoft’s software development kit (SDK), they may not always have the relevant expertise, which is why Microsoft has been investing resources in helping creative agencies get up to speed through “extensive, hands-on training.” But digital agencies represent only one part of the puzzle needed for devices such as HoloLens to realize their full potential. How mixed reality applications fit into a company’s broader infrastructural setup is key, which is why Microsoft is ushering systems integrators into the mix.
“We’ve learned that successful mixed reality solutions are built on great experiences — and those experiences require both a creative design component and a strong competency in application and infrastructure integration and deployment,” explained Jeff Hanset, head of HoloLens product marketing at Microsoft. “SIs around the world already know how to build, support, integrate, and extend Microsoft technologies to meet their customers’ business and IT goals. As members of the Mixed Reality Partner Program, these SIs and digital/creative agencies will play a critical role in building 3D and mixed reality experiences for enterprise commercial customers.”
As a result of this, existing HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners, of which there are around 30 globally, will automatically become part of this new all-encompassing Mixed Reality Partner Program. It will entail a “multi-week readiness program,” consisting of in-depth mixed reality technical training, as well as sales and marketing. Those who complete the program will subsequently gain access to a number of perks, including access to Microsoft engineering support and mentorship.
Microsoft’s HoloLens first started shipping to developers in the U.S. last March, but more recently it has been opening to developers and clients around the world, including in Europe and Australasia. With HoloLens’ availability expanding, Microsoft now wants to make it easier for companies to access creative and technical resources to harness mixed reality in their respective industries.