The European telecom firms Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, and Vodafone, and the deep tech firm Matsuko, have pioneered a test to make holographic conversations as simple as conventional phone communications.
The companies connect their deployments to provide this service, allowing customers to join a shared holographic communication. The companies are also developing a platform using mobile connections to merge the virtual and real worlds. More specifically, they are using a smartphone as a camera to generate a 2D video. This is then rendered into 3D holograms in the cloud and finally streamed to viewers in an AR/VR/MR environment with excellent sharpness and clarity, the companies say.
“The objective of the initial pilot was to deliver a ‘one-to-many’ holographic experience with a virtualized broadcast approach that would enable an audience to see an individual present virtually — as a hologram –— with stunning realism,” stated Matus Kirchmayer, CEO of Matsuko.
The test platform uses the benefits of a 5G connection (high speed, high bandwidth, and low latency) to address the difficulties that have previously plagued 3D rendering. Holograms are made by taking a real-time three-dimensional holographic image of a person with a smartphone’s selfie camera, then running it through an advanced 3D rendering engine. It then creates an immersive experience and projects it onto a virtual or real-life environment using virtual reality or augmented reality glasses.
“The metaverse brings a new dimension to the future of connectivity, with exciting new experiences for communicating with friends and family, or even for businesses to connect with their stakeholders,” said Alex Froment-Curtil, chief commercial officer of Vodafone. “This proof of concept moves holographic communications dramatically on from science fiction to real-life smartphones.”
Following the first phase of the collaboration, the companies will continue to work together to improve the quality of service. The prospect of broadcast-like distribution is currently under study, allowing for entire events or presentations to be conducted virtually. This technology’s potential applications include better communication between individuals and small groups in personal and professional settings.
“Thanks to this unique multi-operator collaboration, we are preparing our infrastructure to deliver open, interoperable and easy-to-use holographic communication services,” stated Karine Dussert-Sarthe, the executive vice president, marketing and design, Orange Innovation.
According to the companies, the key to this life-like feel is the use of MEC technology. Distributed networks allow for network and application intelligence much closer to the edge of the network, vastly improving both latency and bandwidth. These essential factors ensure a vivid and reliable VR or MR experience.
The project’s current phase is focused on delivering high-quality, low-latency live 3D images to mobile devices. The partners have completed a trial in which lifelike holograms were streamed to mobile phones and tablets using 5G technology. This paves the way for broader technology adoption in personal and professional settings, the companies say.
The project is still in its early stages, but the companies believe that the technology’s potential applications are vast. The partners are committed to continuing working together to explore possibilities.
Daniel Hernández, VP of devices & consumer IoT of Telefónica, also commented: “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 deliver a more immersive “virtually there” experience.”
5G | AR/VR | Deutsche Telekom | hologram | Matsuko | Orange | Telefonica | Vodafone