It seems that Microsoft’s contract with the US Army to supply HoloLens devices and the IVAS system is graduating to field operations. According to a new report, the military will begin officially using the Integrated Audio Visual System (IVAS) HoloLens headsets in 2023.
Army Times reports that the US Army will provide 10,000 headsets to troops during 2023. 5,000 will be HoloLens IVAS 1.0 units, while the other 5,000 will be IVAS 1.1 versions. The hardware will be provided to undisclosed locations for operational and training use.
This development is interesting because the multi-billion-dollar contract with the military has been under strain.
Back in March, we reported on Microsoft’s concern that its $22bn HoloLens contract with the U.S. Army is not going to plan. Reports suggested the US Army was preparing to change the terms of the contract and take fewer devices.
Microsoft shareholders and employees have been critical of the deal. Many argue that the IVAS system will be used in warfighting and directly involved in deaths. Shareholders are pushing for a full independent review. In November, Microsoft urged shareholders to abandon that push.
It is worth noting the 2023 rollout is only a small portion of the overall commitment Microsoft has with the army. The $22bn contract states the company must provide 120,000 total units. Testing of the IVAS system was not going smoothly earlier this year. So much so there were reports the US Army could cancel the contract.
It seems the military and Microsoft have ironed out enough kinks to warrant field use. Even so, the 10,000 units heading to the field in 2023 is clearly a first run test.
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