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In a move designed to remind everyone 5G is almost upon us, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) allowed its network to be used for making the world’s first holographic communication at the annual Mobile World Congress Americas.

It wasn’t the same as Princess Leia asking Obi-Wan Kenobi for help, but the image was nonetheless impressive for the early days of holographic communications

The technology was demonstrated by Voxon Photonics on the show floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The company used Verizon’s 5G network to send medical data from the Verizon booth to the Ericsson booth.

In addition to sending the data, the company used the Intel RealSense depth camera to carry out the first-ever real-time video conference where the caller’s holographic face appeared. The potential applications of the technology were on display as participants on the call collaborated in an immersive environment.

They were able to manipulate the holographic medical images they were viewing around them from every direction without any glasses or goggles covering their faces.

The use cases of this technology across industries will have transformative implications for years to come. Voxon Photonics CEO Will Tamblyn and co-founder Gavin Smith are responsible for creating the world’s most advanced 3D volumetric display which was used for the Verizon demonstration.

Hologram Call Possibilities

As to what is possible with this technology, in the press release Tamblyn said, “Our goal is to show what’s really possible with this new generation of wireless technology. It’s not just for mobile phones but has applications in everything from remote medical diagnosis to video games and video conferencing.”

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Small business in gaming, healthcare, education, communications, entertainment, and more can use this technology to introduce new services and grow their business.

Future Investments

For its part, Verizon recently announced it is expanding its 5G Labs to more locations across the US. Los Angeles, Washington DC, Palo Alto, and Waltham will have facilities which will be developing technologies to harness the full potential of 5G.

The labs are going to launch by the end of 2018, and just like the one in New York City, they will be forming partnerships with institutions of higher learning, tech companies, and startups to develop and test next-generation 5G solutions.

In addressing the creation of these labs, Verizon Senior Vice President of Strategy, Innovation, and Product Development Toby Redshaw, said, “Our 5G Labs will be where collaboration and innovation happen. We’re opening access to our 5G network because we believe the next-generation solutions that will ride on it will be the result of collaboration and innovation by an entire ecosystem of developers.”

The point Redshaw made about this ecosystem may hint at how much potential the technology holds for small businesses. Whether by creating content or developing applications to communicate, play and work with holographic technology, there is a multi-billion dollar industry waiting to be discovered.

Watching Ronald Reagan at his library or listening to Tupac Shakur in Coachella is just scratching the surface of holographic technology.

Image: Verizon

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