Hologram Telephony: Mobile operators are working on 3D phone calls

Apple has successfully updated telephony with »Facetime«, now European providers are working on the next step. Europe’s major mobile network operators are joining forces so that mobile phone users can see the person they are talking to as a hologram when making a call. Vodafone, Telefónica (O2), Deutsche Telekom and the French company Orange announced on Wednesday a project to develop a common platform for the transmission of three-dimensional images.

Hologram telephony is already technically possible today, but complex and expensive – which is why it is rarely used, according to the statement. The providers want to change that and make this type of communication suitable for the mass market. The hologram platform could be available to end customers in about two years. Virtual reality glasses are required to see the 3D image. The companies involved did not give any key financial data for the project.

Only unilaterally transferred

In hologram telephony – also known as “holography” – the person called looks through VR glasses and sees the caller’s upper body as a digital image. This is possible because the selfie camera records their body data and then a three-dimensional digital version is designed. For example, if you are sitting at home in the home office, a colleague could call and then appear on the other side of the desk as a 3D image.

In such a call there is only one hologram, that of the caller. There is no hologram of the called party wearing the VR glasses. The new platform should ensure that such calls can also be transmitted between different mobile phone networks.

The telecommunications industry is already tinkering been working on hologram connections for a long time. 2018 Vodafone demonstrated a hologram video call in a moving minibus on a test site in Aldenhoven (NRW). The project at that time was based on a different technology than the current project and was not very convincing visually.

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