Holograms: Is Your Organization Ready for the Next Step in Conferencing and Collaboration?

By Joey Davis
Managing Editor

Whether you live in a part of the world that is now viewing the pandemic in its rearview mirror or your country is still battling it, one thing is for certain: Where and how you work has forever changed. This is best demonstrated with the advances made in collaboration technology. Hold on, though, the ride is not over yet. Something new is just around the corner, something that looks like a scene out of Star Wars.

As reported by The Washington Post, multiple companies are launching 3-D technologies that create life-like holograms of users in real meeting rooms. It will be the next best thing to being there.

“[In January] Canada-based ARHT Media launched HoloPod, a 3-D display system that beams presenters into meetings and conferences they otherwise might not be able to attend,” writes Dalvin Brown, an innovations reporter for WAPO. “That same month, the 3-D graphics company Imverse was recognized at the global tech conference CES for software that enables hologram collaboration within virtual meeting rooms [and] last year, Spatial enabled holographic-style virtual meetings on Oculus Quest.”

The race is on now as other tech companies compete to bring the most realistic hologram tech to market. The impetus? Holograms are simply more engaging than the tiles of two-dimensional faces currently offered by existing conferencing and collaboration applications.

According to Lisa Walker, the vice president of brand at Fuze, a teleconferencing service, companies are going to have to innovate around that interplay between the remote employee experience and in-office employee experience if they want to lead in this new space. 

“The technologies that can solve for that are going to pop.”

For Concert Fans, the Technology Is Not New

Billboard Magazine said it best: Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of seeing your favorite performer live in concert. Savvy promoters know this better than anyone and have been using holograms for over a decade to present ‘live’ performances from musicians that are thousands of miles away or, more to the point, deceased. Elvis Presley, Tupac, and Michael Jackson, among others, have been given the virtual live treatment and the Whitney Houston estate has promised the same. And while the results have been impressive, the technology is rapidly developing now as the world’s economies become more and more dependent on virtual workers.

No Dedicated Studio and No Projectors

In its short history, hologram tech has required special facilities and projectors to make the 3-D effect work but last month AV Magazine reported US-based DVEholographics has developed a hologram meeting experience that does not require dedicated production studios or projectors to create HDR “hologram” images of people while conferencing. The company says this makes for significant cost savings and makes exponential growth in usage achievable.

“For many years we had dedicated studio rooms at shared office working sites and it was a frustration for speakers to book and visit the locations. What we needed was a way to empower users familiar with videoconferencing apps to instantly call in from home and remote offices and be seen as live holograms at our co-working partner sites around the world. Now the possibilities to connect people in stunning and new productive ways is a reality,” said Steve McNelley, CEO of DVEholographics.

DVE also revealed a new generation experience for co-working spaces, based on its HDR transparent direct view displays, eliminating the need for projectors.

McNelley continued: “For many years we have licensed our Light Mesh projection hologram videoconferencing system to clients around the globe. Yet, we knew our clients wanted brighter, more compact, mobile, and thin display systems. In response, we have been issued extensive landmark patents in transparent direct-view displays. Now, see-through tiny pixels of emitted light enable stunningly bright and clear 3D appearing images of people transported into the room. Glasses-free augmented reality communication is now a reality. Anyone from their home or office can transmit live during a video call their images and appear as a hologram at any one of the potential 25,000+ global co-working locations.”

While this technology certainly has a ‘wow’ factor, the question remains whether employees will continue being remote in big enough numbers to make an investment in 3-D hologram conferencing applications worthwhile. Tech companies, however, are banking on people working from home indefinitely and surveys reveal many employers are considering hybrid workspaces that allow their workers to split time between their home offices and their corporate ones.  

Ready to learn more?  Here is an interactive core knowledge course for all AV professionals. You will learn the basics of networking from an AV perspective, while gaining the tools you need to have a meaningful conversation with your IT peers. Downloadable labs also allow you to explore networking concepts on your own computer to see how they work.

Joey Davis
AVIXA, Managing Editor

Joey is a seasoned content and marketing professional with over 15 years of progressive experience in fast-paced digital media environments. The 2019 TAG Marketing Innovator of the Year recipient, he specializes in web content development, marketing strategy, writing, and graphic design.