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Introducing Holographic Telepresence: Is it the Future?

by SUMMIT on March 3rd, 2015

Holographic Telepresence

After Cisco demonstrated the power of bringing someone into a meeting in 3D through a holographic presence, holographic telepresence technology has been the topic of many conversations. In fact, it has sparked numerous questions and debates about what the future holds for telecommunications. One such question to consider is whether or not we are moving toward having others in the room via holographic presence in the future, given the way we are advancing fast and furiously toward immediate ad-hoc video communication.

But before we consider the answer to that question it might be a good idea to explain exactly what we mean when we say “holographic telepresence.”

What is Holographic Telepresence?

If you are a fan of the Star Wars franchise, you may recall the scene where R2D2 projects a tiny holographic recording of Princess Leia. During the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, a holographic image of the late Michael Jackson was projected on stage during a performance. This futuristic world of holographic images is evolving right before our eyes. And not long from now, holographic telepresence will be used for 3D video conferencing. This system will project full-motion, realistic, and 3D images in real-time. Imagine using this technology to bring people or objects in a separate location right into the room with you. It also includes real-time audio communication that further enhances the realism of the experience. Holographic telepresence could truly rival physical presence in some cases.

A holographic telepresence system captures images of real, remote people and/or surrounding objects and compresses and transmits the images and sound over a broadband network. Once transmitted, it decompresses the images and finally projects them using laser beams. The technology used here is very similar to the way conventional holograms are produced, which explains the name “holographic telepresence.”

Exploring the Potential of Holographic Telepresence

Holographic telepresence can revolutionize the way we think about and experience modern communication systems. In fact, it has the potential to change diverse types of communication systems. For instance, let’s consider how it might aid in the field of telemedicine. With the help of telepresence technology, medical professionals would be able to advise and assist their colleagues even from thousands of miles away in real time.

In a similar way, holographic telepresence can reduce the time, money, and effort otherwise wasted for traveling for business meetings. Furthermore, it may facilitate distance education like never before by connecting geographically remote classrooms, illustrating learning processes live and in 3D, and facilitating remote attendance. Holographic telepresence can also be applied to various forms of simulation such as those needed for enhanced television programming and movie experiences, gaming, advertising, 3D mapping, robot control, and aerospace navigation. Holographic telepresence could also enhance collaboration among teams who may be working in remote locations separate from one another. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

While some may argue that long-distant meetings have already become a reality, thanks to web cameras and video technologies, there are still many limitations to those meetings. Holographic telepresence, on the other hand, provides an even more personal and engaging platform for these long distance meetings. Imagine being able to see a three dimensional projection of people or objects right next to you. Without ever leaving your office, you could engage in an almost life-like meeting with co-workers. In other words, holographic telepresence is going to offer an immersive experience that we haven’t ever had before.

According to AV Concepts, “Holograms will make the attendees of any corporate gathering sit up, pay attention, and truly enjoy the experience.” We mentioned how Cisco and has used holographic telepresence successfully to gain attention in the media. And the business world is taking notes.

Recently there has been speculation about the possibility that Microsoft could make 3D Skype calls a reality using holographic meetings. Right Management’s The Flux Report, 2014 revealed that 49% of HR decision-makers who were surveyed predicted that holographic telepresence meetings would be one of the most prominent changes in the workplace by 2018. It is evident that the market for holographic telepresence looks promising, but how prevalent will it become? We are excited to find out.

Are you ready for holographic telepresence? What kind of impact do you think it will have on your business? We would love to hear from you.

photo credit: Light Saber Fights through hologram via photopin (license)

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