If there is one thing most people would agree on about the military, it is its impact on the development of technology. To name a few, medicine (treatment of wounds, surgeries...) and communication (wireless, internet...) are two things without which we would not have the comfort and security we enjoy today. Thus, when the military is closely interested in augmented reality, or mixed reality, it can only be an indicator of the current or future progress of this technology.
Correlation between level of technological development and military involvement
Why would the fact that augmented reality (through mixed reality) interests the military be an indicator of anything about the progress of this technology? To answer this question, we need to understand that the military approaches the technology in two ways. On the one hand, they are uncompromising in terms of quality, whether it be accuracy, stability, durability, endurance... There is a reason why the term "military grade equipment" is used to emphasize that it has already been proven.
On the other hand, the military are great pioneers in terms of research and technological development. Indeed, we cannot ignore all the great technological contributions that have come out of the military throughout history, just to mention the Internet (imagine yourself without the Internet....). So, if mixed reality interests the military, it is because it fulfills one or the other of these conditions and in any case, it is good news for all the actors of the extended reality.
An expensive contract that speaks volumes
A very expensive contract... to say the least! One thing is for sure, with almost 22 billion dollars at stake, the US Army's investment in extended reality is anything but a simple whim or a minor action. It was Microsoft that won the contract to equip U.S. troops with a customized version of the Hololens: the Integrated Visual Augmented System (IVAS). The terms of the agreement are to supply 120,000 mixed reality headsets over a period of 10 years.
The U.S. Army has turned to mixed reality to equip its tactical troops to accompany them during training, exercises and in combat. As Microsoft officials say, it is an improvement that will facilitate information exchange, situation analysis and decision making. Thus, IVAS will increase overall efficiency, and thus the survival of troops.
A precursor to wider adoption
As the medical field proved to us last time, with augmented surgery, and this time the military field, the adoption of extended reality is a trend that will not stop. In fact, not to mention the appeal of this technology for both professionals and the general public, note the impact of technologies that have interested the military on our daily lives. It is clear that these technologies have become very popular, and practically indispensable, including (once again) the Internet and navigation (GPS). We can therefore foresee a very large adoption of extended reality in the coming years.