Microsoft seeks to improve HoloLens business experience with Windows Autopilot

Microsoft's private preview program for Windows Autopilot for HoloLens 2 is now open. The goal: To make the devices easier to provision and manage at scale.

Microsoft has been positioning its HoloLens augmented-reality goggles as best suited for business customers for some time. Now, the company is taking this positioning a step further with plans to make HoloLens 2 easier to set up and manage via its Windows Autopilot program. 

Microsoft originally took the wraps off Windows Autopilot in mid-2017.  A number of its PC OEMs joined the Windows Autopilot bandwagon over the following months. Windows Autopilot was to simplify the provisioning and deployment of Windows 10 PCs. Because HoloLens devices also are based on a variant of Windows 10, they will be able to be managed with Windows Autopilot, too.

Microsoft this week opened up a private preview for Windows Autopilot for HoloLens 2. (Microsoft started shipping HoloLens 2 in early November last year.) The customer target for this are businesses interested in deploying HoloLens at scale. From Microsoft's blog post:

"As adoption of HoloLens 2 is increasing, medical and educational institutions have found that deploying these devices at scale is challenging, time-consuming, and costly. Imagine an IT admin putting a HoloLens 2 device, calibrating the device, then moving through all the decision-making steps, such as user id and password, to join the device to their tenant. Now repeat this process for every device they need to deploy in their organization."

The private preview includes support for self-deploying mode with Azure Active Directory only, officials said. Other scenarios currently supported include Azure AD join; mobile device management (with Microsoft Endpoint Manager or another MDM solution); device name setup before Azure AD join; and preset keyboard language list options.

Microsoft officials said that "in the coming months," HoloLens 2 devices will be shipped as "Windows Autopilot ready" and have a Windows product key ID barcode printed on the outside of the box for registration purposes.