Microsoft may lose out on its $10 billion JEDI contact, but it just scored a $21.9 billion contract to provide the US Army with augmented reality (AR) headsets.
Unlike virtual reality (VR), which creates a completely immersive environment, AR augments the real world with virtual reality overlays. The US Army wants to use AR headsets to improve battlefield communication and awareness, providing soldiers with important information.
Microsoft and the US Army will work to quickly move the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program from prototype to production.
The IVAS headset, based on HoloLens and augmented by Microsoft Azure cloud services, delivers a platform that will keep Soldiers safer and make them more effective. The program delivers enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios. Microsoft has worked closely with the U.S. Army over the past two years, and together we pioneered Soldier Centered Design to enable rapid prototyping for a product to provide Soldiers with the tools and capabilities necessary to achieve their mission.
Microsoft’s announcement is the latest example of the many ways VR and AR are poised to revolutionize multiple industries.