In an early morning blog post, Microsoft announced the expansion of the Microsoft HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program. This announcement comes on the tail of an expanded HoloLens release over the last few months to many countries outside the initial US and Canada.
Microsoft opened up sales of the HoloLens device to Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom back in November of last year, and added Japan a short time after. They are now working with developers in many of those countries to expand the group of partners ready to develop for the mixed reality class of devices that are currently available, as well as those soon to be released.
Here is a quick list of new partners being added to the program:
- Black Marble (UK)
- Fundamental VR (UK)
- Holoforge (France)
- Immersion (France)
- REWIND (UK)
- Zuhlke (Germany)
This purpose of this program is to help Microsoft ensure teams are ready and willing to take on the development projects for parties interested in bringing their ideas to the new Windows Mixed Reality platform.
As more companies understand the benefits and deploy HoloLens and mixed reality, they are looking for a broad set of choices to help build and deploy mixed reality applications. The good news is there are several ways they can get started. They can build applications themselves (using tools like our SDK), they can work with Microsoft directly (by being part of our Enterprise Acceleration Program), they can use off-the-shelf solutions like SketchUp Viewer and Skype for HoloLens, or they can work with HoloLens Agency Readiness Partners.
Of course, there is a much larger selection of teams and companies making HoloLens software for clients than the 16 now in the Agency Readiness Partnership program. Many of these smaller teams and individuals are doing great work, as Atlanta-based Microsoft MVP James Ashely recently posted in his guide to finding great HoloLens developers. That said, there are definitely a few benefits for the teams on the Agency Readiness Partnership program.
Microsoft is very active in the foresting of the development community, between the development forums and the curating of the HoloToolkit, the Microsoft team has done an amazing job helping people find solutions to problems that arise quickly. So what the HoloLens Agency Readiness program offers, aside from being represented on the Microsoft HoloLens website, is a direct hands-on training that can really accelerate a team's learning process in handling the more complex issues.
As the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem grows, the need for more teams to produce quality content will also continue to grow. For those that are interested in joining the Microsoft HoloLens Agency Readiness Partner Program, it is a competitive process that can be applied for through the HoloLens website.
Have you tried to apply to be a Readiness Partner? What was the process like? Let us know in the comments below.