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World’s first 5G to 5G holographic 3D video chat 

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Crichton Central in Dumfries, Scotland, hosted the world’s first 5G to 5G holographic 3D video chat demo and gatecrashed a meeting between Gwilym Gibbons from The Crichton Trust and Graeme Harrold from Nokia.

The 3D videoconferencing system was showcased during Cop26, from the 5G hub in Crichton Central in Dumfries in the South of Scotland, called the S5GConnect Dumfries hub, to the 5G hub of the Communication, Sensing and Imaging group at the James Watt School of Engineering, at the University of Glasgow.

The experience included two-way 3D videoconferencing between Dumfries and Glasgow, via Holoxica’s 3D Telepresence system.

The 3D video call was completed using Microsoft Azure Kinect 3D depth cameras, and the help of the Scotland 5G Centre, The Crichton Trust and Nokia’s 5G infrastructure.

Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO, Nokia, said: “Taking holographic video calls from laboratory testing to actual daily use in offices and homes is no small feat.

“5G Advanced is critical to enabling real-time calls and making ‘holo chats’ a viable alternative to business travel.

“I was seriously impressed by the Holoxica 3D Telepresence experience and it was fantastic to see Nokia’s 5G Core partnership with the University of Glasgow in action.”

From 2D to 3D, from tele to holo, from 4G to 5G, from flat-land to holo-land, our horizons are shaping and shifting with increased digitalisation, tech innovation and connectivity.

Remote working due to the pandemic has led to reduced commutes, travel times and expenses and a reduced ecological footprint, while 2D videoconferencing has skyrocketed.

Holoxica created the 3D Telepresence as a more natural, intuitive and realistic alternative.

We see the world around us in 3D, it is only natural we communicate remotely in 3D, without having to wear glasses or headsets, and read that non-verbal body language that is much more difficult to detect in 2D.

Gwilym Gibbons, chief executive of The Crichton Trust, said the 3D Telepresence can be used in a variety of situations, from high powered meetings that ordinarily would require a business trip to engaging with an ageing society in rural areas to even 3D Telemedicine.

“We believe that 5G connectivity will enable our rural communities to experience the power of fast connectivity and the opportunities this brings for innovation and the future economy.

“It will help to generate the solutions and services we require to meet the challenges of our ageing society, the climate crisis and the fourth industrial revolution.”

Dr Muhammad Ali Imran, professor of communications systems and head of the communication, sensing and imaging group at the James Watt School of Engineering, said: “5G is a key technology to enable more realistic virtual tele-presence that can move us away from conventional two-dimensional screens replacing it with “holograms”.

“This will be a more convincing alternative to physical travel to allow people to interact and engage at a distance while significantly reducing their carbon footprint by avoiding long-haul travel.”

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