Microsoft New Zealand announced today that it will be the first global technology brand to officially partner with the new Auckland-based Augmented and Virtual Reality development facility, AV/VR Garage, through which it will introduce the new Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Holographic technology to the growing Kiwi community of Mixed Reality innovators.
The AR/VR Garage – established by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) as part of the region’s wider innovation network – has been set up to accelerate and showcase the development of New Zealand’s AR/VR capability with a view to creating globally significant outcomes across key sectors.
The AR/VR Garage is connected to world leading international associations, societies and multinationals looking to utilise emerging technologies to transform their areas of influence. The Garage includes project research and development space where virtual teams from around the world can collaborate on complex proof-of-concept and prototyping innovations, as well as co-location space for Auckland’s burgeoning AR/VR community.
Chris Auld, Director of Developer Experience for Microsoft New Zealand, says the company is excited about the potential for the strategic partnership with AR/VR Garage to build the profile for Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Holographic technology, both with developers in New Zealand, and commercial customers and partners here and around the globe.
“Since announcing last month that the world’s first self-contained holographic computer, Microsoft HoloLens, is available for pre-order in New Zealand with devices starting to ship in late November, the interest and demand for demonstrations from local developers has been significant.”
Auld says Microsoft HoloLens will be showcased within the AR/VR Garage and used by start-up companies on their own applications, but will also be used in collaborative projects aimed at developing world leading outcomes and applications.
“We are proud to be one of the inaugural strategic partners for this initiative, and are looking forward to HoloLens finding its place in the pipeline of innovative project opportunities within the state-of-the-art facility that ATEED has established in the AR/VR Garage,” says Auld.
Dean Butchers, GM of Business Attraction and Investment for ATEED, says he warmly welcomes Microsoft’s strategic partnership with the AR/VR Garage and believes it will be an ideal complement to Microsoft’s mixed reality strategy by enabling it to further build networks in Auckland’s AR/VR industry.
“We are delighted to now have one of the world’s leading technology companies become an AR/VR Garage partner, and we look forward to the expertise, vision and global connections that Microsoft will bring to the facility,” says Butchers.
Butchers says Augmented and Virtual Reality have the potential to become the next big computing platforms globally, in the process creating new markets and disrupting existing markets.
“As the technology advances, price points decline and new applications for the technology are established, AR/VR will become a multi-billion-dollar industry, and ATEED is determined to help position Auckland and New Zealand at the forefront of this wave,” says Butchers.
Since it opened in September, the AR/VR Garage has established strong working alliances with emerging global industry leaders. The Garage will be the Oceania base of the influential VR Society, which already has chapters in Beijing and Canada, and last year secured about US$170 million of VR projects for its global members.