Holograms replaced more commonly used avatars as Bell Canada, Verizon, Vodafone and Matsuko conducted what they called “the first live transatlantic collaborative meeting connecting multiple holographic people in Canada, the US and the UK using 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) technology.”

Interacting via holograms rather than avatars provides a more personal collaborative experience, according to the 5G Future Forum, whose members include America Movil, Bell Canada, KT Corp., Rogers and Telstra. This is seen as beneficial for applications such as remote healthcare, collaborative working and education.

Holograms of employees located in three different countries were connected across three different networks. Employees from Toronto connected using Bell’s 5G network; employees in New York used Verizon’s 5G network; and people in London used Vodafone’s 5G network.

MEC moves the necessary computing closer to the edge of the network to help ensure a more reliable and consistent hologram, the participants said. The technology minimizes delays that would otherwise result from multiple hops between different locations and across the internet.

The holograms were created using Matsuko’s real-time software and a single camera. Holograms were then streamed via spatial computing, an immersive technology that combines virtual and augmented reality. Matsuko’s patented technology uses its presence app on a smartphone combined with an extended reality (XR) headset to stream holograms in near real time. This creates the feeling that people are in the same room.

Telecom companies have been working to develop holographic communications capabilities for several years.

“This demonstration shows how Verizon via the 5GFF continues to drive Open API industry momentum with real-life use cases while also accelerating ease of use for developers,” John Nitti, Verizon senior vice president of strategy, new business and partner development, said in a prepared statement about the Verizon holograms demo.

Cable companies also have been experimenting with holographic communications.

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