Bell, Vodafone, Verizon do transatlantic holographic call with the worst holograms you’ve ever seen

Matsuko is the company behind the holographic tech

Bell, U.S. carrier Verizon, and U.K. carrier Vodafone revealed in a press release that they “successfully conducted the first live transatlantic collaborative meeting connecting multiple holographic people.”

According to the release, the companies used Matuko’s real-time holographic presence software, which can utilize a single camera from a smartphone to create a “hologram” of a meeting participant that other participants wearing extended reality (XR) headsets can view.

The release highlights the use of 5G networks and multi-access edge computing (MEC) to connect holograms of people in Toronto, using Bell’s 5G, New York using Verizon’s 5G, and London using Vodafone’s 5G.

While the whole thing certainly sounds impressive, Bell’s press release notably lacks any images or videos of the “hologram” in action. So I went looking to see if I could find any depiction of Matsuko’s hologram tech in action and, sure enough, Matsuko’s own website offered up what I was looking for:

Hmm… Let’s move on.

Bell’s press release goes on to highlight that it and the other two carriers used the 5G Future Forum’s (5GFF) Application Programmable Interface (API), called 5GFF Edge Discovery API, for the test. The API allows developers like Matsuko to discover the nearest edge to an end user, enabling applications to perform optimally.

Naturally, the performance and latency of conferencing tools like Matsuko’s are hard to convey over video or a press release — it’s the type of thing you need to try out in person. You know, like Google’s Project Starline, which absolutely floored MobileSyrup’s Brad Bennett and Dean Daley when they tried it out.

Still, there’s something to be said for this test working successfully over such a distance, whereas the Starline demo had participants in rooms maybe 35 feet apart. Starline also uses a mix of special camera hardware and AI to create its lifelike video chat, instead of just the camera on your phone like Matsuko.

Image credit: Matsuko