Holoportation: The Newest Way to Virtually Communicate

Holoportation: The Newest Way to Virtually Communicate

If you’re a fan of the sitcom “Silicon Valley,” you may remember a scene in which there is a holographic teleconference meeting. Gavin is teleported and his 3D image appears to be in the room with the others in the meeting.

It turns out this new type of 3D communication is not as futuristic as it may seem. In fact, Microsoft Research has been working on the 3D capture technology dubbed “holoportation,” allowing high-quality 3D images of people to be transmitted in real time to a remote location, creating a mode of communication remarkably similar to that shown in the “Silicon Valley” episode.

By using a HoloLens, a headset created by Interactive 3D Technologies, a user is able to see the reconstructed image of someone who has “holoported.”

This video demonstrating the technology shows how the 3D image is seen to someone wearing the HoloLens. It appears as if someone remote is actually in the same room!

Of course, in that “Silicon Valley” episode, there were technology issues; first with the holographic teleconference, then, with the video conference, and finally, even with the cell phone.

Even though new technology is awesome, there are often complications and growing pains, which can cause frustration for new users or early adopters. The good news is that the issues continue to get fixed and the technologies continue to improve.

Who would have believed how easy it is now to communicate “face to face” even when we’re not physically co-located? With tools like Skype and Google Hangouts, just to name a couple, video chats and conferences have become simple.

Now we are literally taking communication to a whole new dimension with 3D communication. Though this technology is still in its infancy, it will undoubtedly improve and someday we may find it hard to remember a time when it wasn’t available.

Though I don’t believe any mode of communication can completely replace the connection that results from being physically together, the ability to communicate real time in 3D is another big step in face-to-face communication.

Some people criticize technology for taking away our “real life” social connection, but I think if used well, technology helps us enhance the social connections that are most important to us.

For example, the stronger our communication and collaboration tools are, the more freedom we have to be spending our physical time with the people and in the places that mean the most to us.

Thanks to advancements in technology, employees have more options to telecommute or avoid work travel and spend more time with their families.

In recent years, I’ve known many people who have been able to spend time with ailing parents and still accomplish their work by taking advantage of tools that help distributed teaming.

In my opinion, employers are really putting “individuals and interactions over processes and tools” when they give their employees the freedom to spend time with their families, as long as they’re able to do their job well.

Holoportation is the latest, greatest innovation in communication. Though it may be a while before it’s mainstream, I’m excited to see how this new technology will be used and how it will grow and improve over time.

What do you think? 


Yvette Francino has more than 30 years in the software development industry, and is an independent consultant, experienced agile leader, coach, author and trainer in various methodologies including SAFe, Scrum, Kanban and large-scale custom methodologies.

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