Leaked memo reveals Microsoft isn't too cheery about its HoloLens deal with the U.S. Army

Two US Army soldiers wearing HoloLens headsets

Almost a year ago in April 2021, Microsoft bagged a near $22 billion contract with the U.S. Army for delivering Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), based on its HoloLens mixed reality headset technology.

As per the deal, 120,000 such headsets will be built for use by the U.S. military, for use by on-foot soldiers as well as military vehicles later on. From there, fast forward a few months to September 2021 is when the initial equipping and testing of the gear was set to begin.

And if you are wondering how that went, according to a new report by the BusinessInsider, a leaked internal memo has revealed that the Redmond giant isn't too cheery about the feedback it is going to receive.

David Marra, the General Manager for AI and Mixed Reality at Microsoft, and others working on the project, were addressed in this memo, and apparently it even admits that the reliability of the IVAS hasn't improved much since previous test events:

We (Microsoft) are going into the event expecting negative feedback from the customer.

We expect soldier sentiment to continue to be negative as reliability improvements have been minimal from previous events.

If you are wondering which event was being referred to in the memo, the U.S. Army, on Monday is set to receive and trial these headsets before the start of its fifth Soldier Touchpoint (STP 5) training operation in May 2022.

Overall, the company is expecting the U.S. Army to be underwhelmed by the HoloLens' poor low-light and thermal imaging performances. Also apparently, 34 of the devices were already used by Microsoft employees - probably for testing - and were sent up to the Army in their unpackaged states.

This negative outlook, however, can be viewed somewhat as a positive too, suggests another Microsoft worker:

Sounds like the Army is coming in with low expectations to [sic]which might be advantageous as the expectations/delivery delta might not be big.

In the middle of all this, Frank Shaw, the Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft, restored diplomacy in the conversation stating that the event will be a "part of an ongoing process to engage directly with the soldiers to further improve and enhance the device".

Source: BusinessInsider

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