At Kognitiv Spark, we focus on the delivery of secure and reliable remote worker support using the Microsoft HoloLens and it’s our specialty.
Kognitiv Spark is both a Microsoft Gold and Mixed Reality partner. Microsoft is a great ally in the Mixed Reality space. They are the world’s leading MR hardware provider and support a community of 1000s of MR app developers.
Microsoft doesn’t just foster this community, it develops MR products as well. Dynamics 365 Remote Assist is their solution for providing remote guidance to workers. While these two tools, Remote Assist and RemoteSpark, may appear to solve the same problem, they serve different use cases.
This article highlights the differences between the two applications in order to help industrial organizations select the solution best equipped to solve their specific challenges. In some cases, an organization might even want to use both!
Off the top, the two applications enable a remote worker to digitally connect a subject matter expert. Once a connection has been established, subject matter experts can see what the remote worker sees. The two parties can communicate verbally and leverage various tools and functionalities offered by the two platforms to solve problems and to keep operations flowing. Both solutions can reduce travel and equipment downtime while improving knowledge transfer.
Where these two applications differ are in their functionalities and how they integrate into an organization’s network and existing processes.
A notable difference between the two options is bandwidth requirements, network and connectivity requirements, and other software requirements. Your organization’s data governance policies may also affect which solution you’re able to operate within your company.
|Infrastructure||Microsoft Remote Assist||Kognitiv Spark RemoteSpark|
|Bandwidth Requirements||1500+ kbps recommended||256+ kbps recommended|
|Secure Encrypted Video Calls||Yes||Yes|
|Other Software Requirements||Yes|
(Microsoft Teams )
|Make a call or share content to a contact outside your company||No|
(You are required to create a guest account on your Azure AD tenant. At this time, you can’t do group calling or file sharing with contacts outside your company. )
|Private Network Installation |
Install on corporate-managed servers or cloud subscriptions
|Air-Gapped No cloud services or Internet required||No||Yes|
The 2D content for both products is very similar. Both support annotations (drawn live by the expert user), arrows, PDF files, and photos. RemoteSpark supports the transfer of MS Office files like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint into a call, appearing as holograms to the end-user. RemoteSpark also adds the ability to load 3D CAD assets during the call (saved as glTF) for complex task support. These assets can be static, animated (to show one task), or step-by-step animated (to show a sequence of tasks).
|Annotations & Content||Microsoft Remote Assist||Kognitiv Spark RemoteSpark|
|Holographic Arrows||Yes |
(Remote worker controlled)
|Animated 3D Holograms||No||Yes|
|Step-by-Step Animated 3D Holograms||No||Yes|
|One Drive Integration||Yes||No|
(Content can be imported on the fly from a One Drive folder.)
|Images & Adobe Acrobat Files (PDF)||Yes||Yes|
|MS Office Documents||No||Yes|
Here is a list of core features for both solutions. One of the advantages of Remote Assist is the ability to record the call using Teams. RemoteSpark requires a third-party app to record a call.
|Application Features||Microsoft Remote Assist||Kognitiv Spark RemoteSpark|
|Record a Call||Yes|
(Using MS Teams)
(Using PowerPoint Screen Capture)
|Offline Mode |
(Ability for remote user to cache content and assets before going to an area with no known connectivity)
Both products run on Windows 10 devices and
|Clients||Microsoft Remote Assist||Kognitiv Spark RemoteSpark|
|HoloLens 1 & 2||Yes||Yes|
|Windows 10 PC||Yes||Yes|
|Tablet Support for iOS and Android||Yes||No|
|Surface Hub 1 & 2||No||Yes|
If more advanced phases of MR remote support are on your digital transformation timeline, an organization should note the following advanced features.
|Advanced Features||Microsoft Remote Assist||Kognitiv Spark RemoteSpark|
|IoT enabled Holograms||No||Yes|
|External API||Teams, Dynamics||Any REST API|
To login to Remote Assist, you need a proper Office 365 account. With RemoteSpark, as it can run in the cloud or air-gapped, you can use an Office 365 account, if using the cloud version, or use a RemoteSpark account for either the cloud or on-premise installations.
|Accounts and Licensing||Microsoft Remote Assist||Kognitiv Spark RemoteSpark|
|Dynamics 365 Field Service Integration||Requires Dynamics License||No|
|Accounts||Office 365 Business Premium or Essentials license to login||Office 365, Microsoft Account, or RemoteSpark account|
|Free Trial Available||Yes||Yes|
|Licensing||Office 365 and Remote Assist licenses per user.||License required for HoloLens users. Free license for expert users (Windows 10 device and Surface Hub)|
As you can see by the charts above, RemoteSpark and Remote Assist possess different strengths that lend themselves to different use cases within a variety of conditions and operations.
When should your organization use one, the other, or both? Now that you know the technical differences between the MR platforms, here are six questions you should ask yourself.
There are certainly other solutions for remote worker support on the market. Many of these solutions operate with 2D remote worker support, using a phone or tablet. At Kognitiv Spark, we believe that the most effective and intuitive way to interact with data is in 3D, like how the human brain interacts with anything in the real world. Not to mention, Mixed Reality devices, as opposed to AR devices (phones or tablets), keep the remote worker hands-free allowing them to do the work while interacting with relevant data. This is why we chose to build on the HoloLens.
As you can see above, both tools provide their own, unique value. There are plenty of features and benefits to using either or even both. As both have free trials you can take each for a drive and see which one fits your use cases. If you have any questions, please reach out on Twitter at @RyanGroom or on LinkedIn.
Interested in securing a free trial? Contact our implementation team here.