Microsoft to show off HoloLens, edge computing services at Mobile World Congress 2020

Microsoft took the wraps off HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019. This year, HoloLens, AI, edge computing and autonomous computing all look to be on the MWC 2020 agenda.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft will be holding a press conference the eve of the kick-off of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show in Barcelona next month. In addition, the company is bringing a number of its execs from Azure, AI and robotics and its Airband Initiative to the show, as well.

Microsoft's MWC 2020 invitation (courtesy of The Verge)  lists Azure Corporate Vice President Julia White and Technical Fellow and father of the HoloLens Alex Kipman as the hosts of its February 23 press briefing. The invitation doesn't provide any further clues about what Microsoft might announce at the show. MWC officially runs from February 24 to 27.

Last year, Microsoft made a major splash at MWC by formally introducing the HoloLens 2 augmented-reality headset and associated services there. Though the updated HoloLens hardware was and is impressive, the cloud services connected to those devices -- like Azure Spatial Anchors, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Product Visualize and Dynamics 365 Guides for training -- are what make the device more interesting for business users.

It's too soon for Microsoft to be announcing a new HoloLens, given HoloLens 2 just started shipping late last year. According to Microsoft's PDF outlining its agenda at MWC, officials will highlight "new techniques and use cases" for AI applications in telco. These will include mixed-reality, intelligent voice and other cognitive technologies, plus reinforcement learning for "autonomous and optimized environments."

Cyra Richardson, Microsoft General Manager for Microsfot's cross-company initiative on Robotics, will be featured in a session on AI and autonomous driving. Microsoft has been signing up a number of vehicle makers for its Connected Vehicle Platform, as well as its autonomous computing platform and tools. And Fatema Kothari, Senior Program Manager of Microsoft's Airband Initiative, will be talking up the role of technology in bridging the digital divide.

According to Microsoft's web site, intelligent cloud/intelligent edge will be the dominant theme for the company at this year's MWC. That site lists not only White and Kipman as attendees, but also Scott Guthrie, the Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud + AI Group and Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer. Some have wondered whether Panay might shed any more details or provide new demos of the coming Surface Neo and Duo dual-screen devices at MWC. I'm a bit doubtful, given he isn't listed as participating in Microsoft's press event, but you never know....

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