From Fantasy to the Future: Holograms at the Video Conferencing Table

Something new is coming your way – Princess Leia may soon have a seat at your video conferencing table.  Thirty-six years ago this Star Wars icon was a screen dream; today she embodies the newest developing technology in video conferencing - Holograms. In the tradition of life imitating art, the hologram promises to take business dialogue where no business has gone before – LIVE, real time interaction between physical and virtual holographic bodies.     

Of course, Princess Leia is entertainment.

More recently, performance artists have created a buzz about incorporating holograms into their performance plans.  From Japan's holographic pop star, Hatsune Miku, as 2010's “J-pop avatar on tour [before] live audiences" to Samsung's singer/songwriter Leslie Feist in a triple-body appearance of simultaneous concerts on April 26, 2013, holograms have already taken to the stage.

Let's look at the business side.

Entertainment has planted the vision of possibilities and the seeds of hope and now business technology is creating a new reality.  “As cloud computing opens up the possibilities of remote working, people are turning to new, unified communications technologies to deliver the immediacy of an in-person meeting, while still being able to work from another location. “ says Jane McCallion in a recent article for ITPro.  

The keyword right now is “development” as several IT pioneers have joined the bidding war  for leadership to break the 3D wall in the business world.  Microsoft is developing these tools right now to create a proxy “’that gives the remote worker a true seat at the table, the ability to look around the room, turn to a colleague and have a side conversation,’” as stated in the company’s advert for a Principal Software Development Engineer.  In 2010 Intel unveiled a holographic presentation at their Technology Conference in Turkey. Despite the language barrier, the video is a compelling argument for the imminent marriage of entertainment and business technology for the conference room. 

Since we're discussing the vision of business in the future, let’s return to the cloud for a moment and consider the possibilities of next-generation business norms.  How helpful would it be to have everyone present at the weekly business meeting, even if they were out of town?  Patients could make virtual visits to their doctors and doctors could make virtual house calls.  Engineers walking through their designs would add dimension to project development.  Depositions might no longer require air fare and accommodations to prepare testimony and witnesses for legal a ctions.  There’s nothing more effective for recruitment than a face-to-face dialogue.  Students' and teachers' classroom interaction takes on new meaning in infinite variables.  While the types of meetings are varied, these scenarios all represent groundbreaking possibilities for video-conferencing in business.

Right now, it appears our IT visionaries have a ways to go before we have something practical to add to video conferencing services; however, lest you think this is just entertainment, remember how the telephone changed how we conduct business. 

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