How Microsoft’s HoloLens Could be the Next App Store

The HoloLens stole the show at Microsoft’s Windows 10 unveiling. The demo video sure seems to be too good to be true. What’s more surprising is that the people who tried it seem to be impressed as well. The implications for this device could be huge and it could take off versus something like Google Glass, which was really presented to the masses as ubiquitous notifications and information.

The difference in presentation of the HoloLens vs. Google Glass or even Oculus Rift has me excited. I keep thinking of different applications as I go through my day. If done right, this device could spawn a multi-billion dollar market similar to the iPhone.

Here are some scenarios that I hope come to fruition for the HoloLens.

Effortless Planning
I have a challenge. There is a lot of bare wall space in my house in the main living area on the first floor. I’m never quite sure how to decorate that space. I’m smart enough to know it isn’t a space for movie poster art for a married man with a family, but I don’t know what to put there.

Between art, personal photos, and shelving, it can be a daunting task. With the HoloLens, I could browse my personal photo library from OneDrive and start checking out which pictures of my kids to hang up. I could even tweak the coloring (Instagram-esque style) to see what looks good in the room. If I wanted something more commercial, I could open an art reseller’s app to see what Picasso’s “Don Quixote” looks like next to my TV. The app could allow me to resize on the fly with standard sizes available or change the frame style and color.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. For remodeling projects, the HoloLens is ideal. With the right applications, you could repaint your wall with a virtual floodfill before purchasing or place virtual furniture and change fabric patterns in the room without lifting a finger. You could check out a new fireplace or new bathtub with just a few gestures.

Since the HoloLens is so portable, you could take it outside to your landscaping and drop some virtual plants around before you make a purchase! Want to see what that sapling will look like in 5 years? 10? Just swipe right and watch it grow!

Savings Lives
Could the HoloLens safe a life? Well, depending on the final size, you may not be able to get close enough to administer CPR, but a 911 operator could possibly walk you through it. An EMT could receive additional instructions from a doctor at the hospital and potentially diagnose and recommend paths for treatment.

Doctors are already on the forefront of collaborative technologies. Imagine if they could see through another doctor’s (or anyone’s) virtual eyes from anywhere. The HoloLens could even work with a program like Doctors Without Borders, allowing cutting edge medical treatments to reach remote locations.

Next Level Recreation
We’ve already seen a Minecraft style video game in your living (I hope Lego is paying attention) and I could just imagine pulling back a virtual slingshot trying to aim birds at those pesky pigs.

But, let’s get our kids outside! Why confine yourself to the living room? It’s time to take your HoloLens outside for some augmented reality gaming. In case you didn’t notice, a lot of games take place outside as it is. Why not take advantage of the portability of the platform and take the game outside? Have a neighborhood alien invasion party!

Become a Giant
Stay with me on this one. Point A to Point B directions are available everywhere. It is so ubiquitous anymore, there’s no excuse for getting lost. What about big cities though? Oftentimes, you park and aren’t sure where to go. That’s even if you know where to park! Face it, finding parking and then figuring out where to go can be a hassle.

With a HoloLens application, you can virtually walk in a city and figure out exactly where to go. Find parking easily by inserting yourself into the map or zoom out and find a nearby restaurant before you head out.

What if you were moving to a new area and wanted to check it out? With a realtor application, you could tour the house and even the neighborhood. Zoom out and see where things are relative to the area easily by inserting yourself into the map and looking around.

Replacing that TV
Do you really need a TV if you’re wearing a HoloLens? The demo video would suggest not. Back in January, Gizmodo reported 3d TV is dead. That very well may be, but 3d content is not.

The question then becomes, why even look at the wall? Consider this scenario – You’re settling down to participate in your favorite detective\mystery show. The scene opens in your living room, only it isn’t your living room.

Your room expands to a long darkened alley. As you stand up and take a step forward, the alley pulls you forward and you are suddenly standing next to a murder victim. You bend down and find a matchbook. You pick it up and flip it over with some simple gestures. The detective next to you notices it as well. He thinks you’re just another uni, but you’ve just uncovered a major clue that could crack this case wide open…

Stories will never be the same again once you can truly participate. This will take some work on the camera end though.

Never Miss Anything
Why read a boring article about an event when you can live it? There are so many amazing things that happen in this world everyday. With the HoloLens and your favorite news network’s application, you can experience everything. As long as there is a camera there, you are good to go.

This one we’ve seen in the Mars demo, but it could really change people’s perspectives and be an excellent teaching tool.

Museums could discover new revenue streams by publishing exhibits with real world events. Imagine not only being able to see 3d renderings of artifacts, but also participating in their original uncovering!

Microsoft’s Strengths
If Microsoft can deliver on the promise of the HoloLens with easy to use application tools, the sky is really the limit with this technology. Early on, folks did amazing things with Kinect. I can’t wait to see how the HoloLens starts out!

What might you use it for?

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