Doutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone teamed up with Matsuko, a technology company developing 3D holograms for remote communication, to manage Mobile hologram video call.
last year, Cisco unveils Webex Hologram, which uses augmented reality (AR) headsets to display 3D representations of meeting participants, placing them in the same place. Several startups see this area of video conferencing as a growth opportunity, and Matsuko hopes to capitalize on the powerful technology embedded in modern smartphones.
The goal is to make holographic calls as easy as voice calls. The Matsuko technology works through an app available on the App Store for iOS, Google Play for Android devices, and the Microsoft Store for PCs running Windows.
“We are confident that in the near future, we will be able to offer our customers a new way of communicating using this new holographic technology to provide a more immersive “virtually there” experience,” said Daniel Hernandez, vice-president, devices and consumer IoT. At Telefonica.
Four mobile network operators (MNOs) said they are looking to build a platform that will combine the real and virtual worlds through a mobile connection, using a smartphone camera to create a 2D video that is then rendered into a 3D hologram in the cloud. One will stream to the audience Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) the environment
Operators claim that advances in connectivity, thanks to 5G and edge computing technologies, make it possible to achieve smooth and natural movement of holograms, opening up a range of possible uses.
The pilot uses technology provided by Matsuko to enable their respective customers to join a common holographic communication session. The trial platform uses the features of 5G connectivity – high speed, high bandwidth and low latency – to overcome some of the challenges of creating realistic 3D images that have existed until now.
Each participant’s hologram is created using a smartphone’s selfie camera to capture and transmit a real-time three-dimensional holographic image, which is processed through a 3D rendering engine.
Companies participating in the pilot claimed that the technology enabled them to provide a “virtually there” immersive experience and display holographic images created in a virtual environment. The image can be overlaid on a real-world setting using VR/AR glasses.
After successfully completing the first phase of the collaboration, the four companies said they will continue to improve the underlying technology with a focus on service quality. For example, they are currently testing the feasibility of broadcast-like delivery, creating the possibility of conducting entire events or presentations virtually. Future applications may include improving communication in person-to-person or few-to-few, consumer and business settings.
“If these past two years have shown us anything, it’s that we as human beings need each other’s presence. And although we’ve come a long way with remote communication, today’s tools are still a long way off,” says Matsuko co-founder Maria Virsikova. “Our brains are wired for the third dimension, and we need the feeling of people physically being there.”
Discussing the pilot, Vodafone Chief Commercial Officer Alex Froment-Cartil said: “This proof of concept takes holographic communication dramatically from science fiction to real-life smartphones.”
According to Karin Dossert-Sarth, Orange Innovation’s executive vice-president, marketing and design, the collaboration among mobile operators gives customers a great opportunity to make holographic calls available across mobile networks.
“Thanks to this unique multi-operator collaboration, we are preparing our infrastructure to provide open, interoperable and easy-to-use holographic communication services – a first but meaningful step towards the metaverse,” he said.