[By Meenakshi Nowrattan]

Microsoft has announced that its holographic headset, HoloLens, will be released in Europe this month, with plans to expand its availability worldwide in November. The HoloLens headset creates a customized, holographic mixed reality in real time for the user wearing the headset. Partnered with the release of HoloLens will be Microsoft’s launch of HoloBeam, a chat app that captures a 3D image of a person and beams it into someone else’s home via the HoloLens headset. Ultimately, HoloLens could enable a shift towards communication becoming heavily based in virtual reality.

HoloLens impressed Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. According to Nel, “When we saw HoloLens, we knew we had found a solution that would allow us to create a collaborative process, enabling customers to make decisions about their home improvement projects quickly and confidently.’’

So how will HoloLens impact the future of communications, and furthermore, public relations? While the headset is currently targeted at businesses and developers, the augmented reality application could change how the average person communicates, and could facilitate both long distance communication and collaboration. Within the context of public relations, the headset could make collaboration more efficient, and could also play a role in how PR professionals approach design and conduct research on public opinion.

Does this mean face-to- face communication will be obsolete? While HoloLens has great implications for business and educational purposes, there will always be a need for in-person communication. Similar to other technology, there is always the possibility of glitches and malfunctions. While holographic technology will help with communication, in-person communication will always be more reliable and dependent.

HoloLens marks the birth of holographic communication and has the potential to become a part of everyday communication and perhaps even a part of the PR toolkit in the future. Learn more about HoloLens and its applications here.

(Photo by Jorge Figueroa via Flickr)