Microsoft focuses on mixed reality in Vancouver, B.C., expansion

Credit: Rachel Lerman, Seattle Times Business Reporter

Microsoft is continuing its push to build actual and virtual technology ties with its neighbors to the North, announcing several initiatives Wednesday in Vancouver, B.C.

Fifty new engineering and design workers will be hired in the company’s downtown Vancouver office, adding to the 800 employees that already work in the city, Microsoft President Brad Smith said at the annual meeting of the Business Council of British Columbia.

 Those jobs will center on “mixed reality,” or augmented and virtual reality technology. Microsoft’s best-known effort in that space is the HoloLens system, which it will begin selling in 29 more countries as of Wednesday.

“Vancouver is becoming a world-class hub for mixed reality and digital innovation,” Smith said Thursday in Vancouver.

In the education realm, the company will partner with the British Columbia Institute of Technology to create mixed reality courses.

Microsoft also has picked Vancouver to mark its first international expansion of the TEALS program, which pairs computer scientists with high school teachers to bring coding education to schools. TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) currently serves 348 schools across the U.S., including 86 in Washington state.

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