Leading European operators Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone Group teamed with technology company Matsuko on a pilot to make holographic calls as easy to conduct as a voice call, employing 5G and edge computing.

The operators stated the pilot was designed to enable customers to join a common holographic communication session by interconnecting their separate deployments.

Doing so aims to make the process of connecting via hologram “as easy and simple as making a straightforward phone call”.

In addition, the operators and deep technology company Matsuko explained they are developing a platform to combine “real and virtual worlds” through a mobile connection, using a smartphone camera to generate a 2D video. This is then rendered into 3D holograms in the cloud and streamed to viewers in an AR, VR or MR environment.

5G overcoming challenges
The companies pointed out the trial platform was made possible through 5G, taking advantage of high speed, broad bandwidth and low latency, to overcome challenges to creating “realistic 3D imagery which existed until now”.

Holograms are created using selfie cameras to capture and transmit a real-time holographic image, before processing it through an advanced rendering machine. It is then delivered virtually to a real-world setting using VR and AR glasses.

With the trial complete, the companies will work to improve the underlying technology, advance the technology towards enabling broadcast-like delivery and create the possibly for entire events to conducted through holograms.

Vodafone COO Alex Froment-Curtil said the metaverse brings a new dimension to connectivity and the “proof of concept moves holographic communications dramatically on from science fiction to real-life smartphones”.