Microsoft overhauled its SharePoint software two years ago to better compete with Dropbox, Slack, and Box, and it’s going a step further today by bringing its business-focused software to its Mixed Reality headsets. SharePoint is primarily used by businesses to organize documents, build intranet sites, and manage content internally. 400,000 organizations use SharePoint, but it’s not the software you’d most expect to arrive on virtual reality headsets.
SharePoint spaces is designed to be an immersive environment for data manipulation and visualization, something we’ve seen some VR apps do in the past. Microsoft imagines that by bringing SharePoint into the virtual reality world, businesses will use it for onboarding new employees, training courses, and product development. It’s hard to imagine, but Microsoft wants businesses to let new recruits sit with a virtual reality headset and learn about the company through a 360-degree orientation process.
Likewise, learning objectives and training could be used through SharePoint in the virtual world. This seems more likely, as there are many examples of VR apps for training remote employees or even getting workers used to machinery. This type of experience could also be used for product development, to display prototypes within SharePoint on Mixed Reality headsets.
As SharePoint is widely used by the 135 million Office 365 users, its entry into virtual reality could bring down the cost of developing experiences for businesses. It’s still unlikely that SharePoint will be used widely in virtual reality, though, and this feels like more of an experiment from Microsoft to see how business-focused apps could be used on Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Microsoft is opening up a special preview version of SharePoint spaces, before it’s made available more broadly to all Office 365 commercial users.