April 26, 2013

Skype May Go Holographic with New Microsoft Tech


Communications technology just keeps getting better, and now, a whole new achievement is making its presence known. While it may take some time to get to market, new reports have emerged suggesting that Microsoft is on the hunt for new software development engineers to put new life into a 3D telepresence technology that may eventually yield a meeting system that allows for holographic display.

The original technology started out as a research project known as Viewport, but reports indicate that this research may well ultimately become an official release, potentially as a part of Skype. The result would allow for remote workers--or anyone else, really--to step up what's being called "high-definition communication" in the software, and allow for an extra level of engagement.

Interestingly, Microsoft isn't the first to do something like this, as both Sony and Cisco, among others, have already brought out 3D telepresence systems. But holography is a little something different, as the aforementioned new job postings have been targeting that side of things. Viewport, the research project that Microsoft is reportedly looking to augment, uses a combination of cameras in both infrared and color to link up with projectors and produce a 3D hologram. This in turn allows for, essentially, a face-to-face meeting without the intermediary of a screen, allowing remote workers to feel more a part of the larger operation than ever.

No reports exist, as yet, on just when the holographic system will make it to the market, but Microsoft reportedly believes that the new technology will ultimately be a major step forward for communications and be regularly used by millions around the world.

Indeed, there's no denying that the idea of a holographic communications system would be a big step forward in terms of communications. There also would likely be plenty of takers for the sheer futuristic feel of it alone. Some might well actually feel that a holographic meeting is more of a connection than a meeting over voice or on more two dimensional video. But the overall appeal of something like this may prove limited, especially if the hardware required to execute such a system--the cameras and projectors and the like--are expensive or otherwise cumbersome. Enterprise users might be more willing to take this on, at least at first, as they would have meeting rooms devoted to this kind of technology, but for regular consumers to get on board, that probably wouldn't be seen until a few generations out when the technology is small enough, and inexpensive enough, to broadcast holograms right into a living room or a home office.

Still, it's good to see that telecommunications is, even now, still developing and adding new features, offering more value for its users and refining the technology that, eventually, it will feel like the users of telecommunications are in the same room. Just where this all goes should be an exciting trip to follow.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi




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