Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone have teamed up with Matsuko, a technology company developing 3D holograms for remote communication, to conduct a Mobile hologram video calls.
last year, Cisco unveils Webex hologram, which uses augmented reality (AR) headsets to display 3D representations of meeting attendees, making them appear in the same space. A number of start-ups see this field of video conferencing as an opportunity for growth, and Matsuko hopes to take advantage of the powerful technology built into modern smartphones.
The goal is to make 3D calls with the ease of voice calls. Matsuko’s technology works through an app available on the App Store for iOS, Google Play for Android devices, and the Microsoft Store for Windows PCs.
said Danielle Hernandez, Vice President, Devices and Consumer IoT, at Telefónica.
The four mobile network operators (MNOs) said they are looking to develop a platform that combines the real and virtual worlds through a mobile connection, using a smartphone camera to create 2D video that is then converted into a 3D hologram in the cloud to be streamed to viewers in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) environment.
The operators claim that advances in connectivity, thanks to 5G technology and advanced computing, make it possible to achieve smooth and natural motion of holograms, opening up a range of possible use cases.
The pilot uses technology provided by Matsuko to enable its customers to join a shared 3D communication session. The experimental platform uses the attributes of 5G connectivity – high speed, high bandwidth, and low latency – to overcome some of the challenges in creating realistic 3D images that have existed until now.
The hologram is generated for each participant using the smartphone’s selfie camera to capture and transmit a hologram in real time, which is then processed through a 3D rendering engine.
The companies involved in the experiment claimed that the technology enabled them to provide an immersive experience “almost there” and display the hologram they create in a virtual environment. The image can also be overlayed on a real-world setting using VR/AR glasses.
Having successfully completed the first phase of cooperation, the four companies said they will continue to improve core technology, focusing on service quality. For example, they are currently investigating the possibility of broadcast-like delivery, which creates the possibility of conducting almost entire events or presentations. Future applications could include person-to-person or little-to-bit, enhancing communication in consumer and business settings.
“If the past two years have shown us anything, it is that as human beings we need each other’s presence. Although we have come a long way in telecommunications, today’s tools are still very far away,” said Maria Versikova, co-founder of Matsuko. Our brain is connected to the third dimension, and we need to sense that people are physically there.”
While discussing the pilot, Alex Froment-Curtel, Commercial Director of Vodafone, said: “This proof of concept takes 3D communications dramatically from science fiction to real-world smartphones.”
The fact that mobile operators are cooperating provides consumers with a greater opportunity to make 3D calls available over mobile networks, according to Karen Dosert-Sarth, executive vice president of marketing and design, at Orange Innovation.
“Thanks to this unique multi-operator collaboration, we are setting up our infrastructure to deliver open, interoperable and easy-to-use holographic communication services – a first but meaningful step toward the metaverse,” she said.