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After two years of struggling against Amazon to settle the disputed JEDI contract with the Department of Defence, Microsoft has managed to win an even bigger contract in an area where they are the clear and undisputed leaders.
Microsoft won a contract to deliver 120,000 military-adapted HoloLens augmented reality headsets worth as much as $21.88 billion over 10 years. The contract is an amazing pay-off for half a decade of investment in augmented reality which has seen little penetration in industry so far.
Microsoft has already reaped $480 million from the Army delivering the prototype version of the headsets called IVAS or Integrated Visual Augmented System. The Army must have liked what they saw, as this deal follows the success of that project.
The Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) device replaced the Army’s own Heads-Up Display 3.0 effort to develop a sophisticated situational awareness tool soldiers can use to view key tactical information before their eyes.
The headsets are designed initially to offer training opportunities to soldiers, allowing them to run through many repetitions of combat scenarios, such as clearing urban areas and engaging enemy forces, without having to leave home station and travel to training facilities.
“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,” Alex Kipman, a technical fellow at Microsoft and the person who introduced the HoloLens in 2015, wrote in a blog post. “The program delivers enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios.”