August 9, 2022
Microsoft wins -billion US Army contract for Augmented Reality gear

Microsoft has won a Pentagon contract for augmented reality headgear for troops over the next decade worth $21.88 billion (Rs 1,60,290 crore), the company and the US military announced on Wednesday.

According to Microsoft technical partner Alex Kipman, headsets based on the commercially available HoloLens will make soldiers safer and more effective.

A Pentagon official said the Department of Defense (DOD) said the production agreement is for five years with a renewal option – which could “contract more than $21.88 billion (Rs 1,60,290 crore)” over 10 years. is, a Pentagon official said. a statement.

Microsoft will begin rapid production of the so-called Integrated Enhancement System under the contract.

“The award aims to bring the next generation of night vision and situational awareness capabilities to close combat forces at a speed of relevance,” the Pentagon said.

Officials said the head-mounted displays used by soldiers for combat and training are fitted with sensors for night and thermal vision, as well as provide data to help with target acquisition and tactical decisions.

“The program provides increased situational awareness, enables information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios,” Kipman said in a statement. blog post,

The contract suggests Microsoft could make money from its augmented reality offerings with the military and potentially herald expanded use by private businesses as well as consumers, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

“The second and potentially most important point is that this deal furthers the narrative that Microsoft is tightening its grip on the DoD and Pentagon deals,” Ives said in a note to investors.

‘Cloud arms race’
The Pentagon said late last year that it stood by its decision to award a $10 billion (about Rs 73,480 crore) cloud computing contract to Microsoft, despite Amazon’s claims that former President Donald Trump had mishandled the process. was influenced by.

“In the cloud arms race, Microsoft has the momentum right now,” Ives said.

Washington-based company Redmond recently launched a platform called Mesh, in which long-distance coworkers can collaborate in the same room using augmented reality glasses and cloud computing power.

“The easiest way to think about it is Microsoft Mesh connects the physical and digital worlds, allowing us to transcend the traditional boundaries of space and time,” co-creator Simon Scaria said in a video presentation.

Mesh is powered by Azure cloud computing system that combines data center processing power with artificial intelligence.

With a $3,500 (roughly Rs 2.5 lakh) price tag, the HoloLens headgear overlays digital imagery on real-world settings, but the mesh platform has the ability to sync with virtual reality gear such as Facebook-owned Oculus as well as smartphones. Is. Kipman.

Apple, Google and Facebook are among the tech titans investing in mixed reality.

The Microsoft company expects external developers and partners to build applications on Mesh, and is working to integrate it into products such as the Teams virtual collaboration service.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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