Video call

Are you tired of video calls? You’ll soon be able to send holograms of yourself through your phone

Video calls have transformed the way we communicate, but European operators are now testing what could be the future of our conversations: holographic calls.

The idea would be that instead of just seeing real-time video, you would see a virtual 3D person like a hologram.

Mobile operators Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone have teamed up with deep technology company MATSUKO, which is spearheading the shift to 3D calling.

The Slovenian company has developed technology focused on making Star Wars holograms, but uses similar technology to create more realistic holograms.

The telecommunications companies announced on Wednesday that they had participated in a pilot program to test holographic calls, which aim to have “broadcast quality”.

How it works?

The technology works using 5G, a mobile network that makes the internet work faster and is designed to connect everyone and everything together, like machines. A smartphone camera captures 2D video of the person sending the hologram. The video stream is then processed in the cloud to turn it into a 3D hologram that can be streamed to viewers.

This first proof-of-concept test enabled holographic calling so the viewer could see a hologram-like virtual person.

Although the sender does not need mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), or augmented reality (AR) hardware, those viewing the hologram may need it. However, it can still be seen only with a smartphone.

“This proof-of-concept takes holographic communications dramatically from science fiction to real smartphones,” Vodafone Chief Commercial Officer Alex Froment-Curtil said in a statement.

Telecom companies are turning their attention to the metaverse, an immersive virtual world that doesn’t yet fully exist but is seen by some as the future of how we’ll work, socialize and connect.

The holographic test call was hailed as “a significant first step towards the metaverse,” said Karine Dussert-Sarthe, executive vice president, marketing and design at Orange Innovation.

It’s unclear when, if, or how the technology will be rolled out for public use, but the technology is being improved.