After the turbulence caused by the pandemic, many people can no longer envision a life where they commute to a 9–5 office job.
The traditional office environment, as well as traditional views on what a workplace is, has changed significantly over the past few years, and it will continue on this accelerated transformation for the next few years to come.
Changes in the workplace have been sped up by developments in technology which is advancing at an extremely fast pace. Now more and more companies are envisioning a future where employees can communicate wherever they are with the use of technology.
This new technology goes far beyond your typical Zoom calls and Slack channels, new technology includes mixed reality like AR and VR, Smart glass, AI, robots, and so on.
One of the most interesting new pieces of technology that we will explore in this article is holograms and how they could be the hottest new trend in the workplace.
What is a hologram?
A hologram is a projection of a 3D digital image. They have been used in the entertainment industry for a while now, being frequently used on the stage and screen, but they could also find use in the workplace.
Using this type of technology, employees could project themselves into the office or meeting room from wherever they are.
The hologram technology will make it appear that they’re actually in the room, with all of their facial expressions and body movements being captured as well as their voice and image.
How do holograms work?
Holograms are a unique type of photography where lasers record a 3D object and then recreate that image as accurately as possible in another location.
You could be sitting at home but with this technology, you will be recorded and projected to any other location you need to be.
Examples of holograms in action
Holograms are already starting to be used by a range of different companies. Although it has not gone mainstream yet, we expect it to grow even more as people look for more innovative ways to work from home productively.
Here are just a few examples of how companies have already started to use hologram technology.
ARHT Media: HoloPodTM
ARHT Media is a hologram company that offers hologram technology for professional use. With their HoloPodTM product, anyone can project themselves into a meeting room, on stage for a conference, or an interview.
The technology is designed to be used in corporate, education, and healthcare settings.
This software allows a user to set up multi-camera systems for their next meeting using a real-time or recorded hologram.
The company demonstrated how effectively its software can enable hologram collaboration within virtual meeting rooms at the global tech conference CES.
Microsoft recently introduced their Mesh, which is a mixed reality service to allow people to connect from wherever they are.
Unlike other hologram software options, this one doesn’t project your actual face and body, but a virtual version of yourself.
It still records and projects your body movements, facial expressions, and gestures, but it will be showing you as an animated version of yourself.
Google Project Starline
It’s hardly a surprise that tech giant Google is also in on the newest hologram trend. Project Starline is currently in the works and it is the company’s experimental communication method.
Using this technology, users will be able to see a 3D model of the person they’re talking to using a mixture of technologies such as 3D imaging, spatial audio, and, of course, holograms.
Finally, there is PROTO, a device that lets you beam yourself to any location and interact with people there.
It works through a human-sized machine that you stand in and then beam your image to any other PROTO device globally.
Applications of holograms in future workspaces
Hologram technology is advancing extremely fast, and with more companies and businesses developing their methods of communication, we can expect this technology to become even more mainstream over the next few years.
Here are just some of the ways that we think holographic technology can be used in future workspaces.
Zoom meetings have been a good method of communication while everyone has been working remotely, but it still does not feel as close to real human interaction as it could.
With a hologram, it will be like you’re talking to the person face-to-face. It will appear like they’re in the room with you and you can easily see their body language, gestures, and hear their tone of voice as you would in an in-person meeting.
As teams across the world continue working remotely, hologram meetings could be the perfect way to add that touch of human interaction, regardless of where everyone is.
Conducting interviews by hologram could be a great way to cut down on the time it takes to interview a range of candidates.
No longer will HR teams have to plan out the logistics of a day’s worth of interviews, they can just set up the hologram and interview everyone one after the other immediately.
It is also a better alternative than Zoom as interviewees can get a better understanding of the company, and interviewers can get to know the candidate better and see if they’ll fit in.
It can be hard to organise a conference when all the speakers are coming in from all over the world, so you could just use a hologram to broadcast their image.
Audience members will find it hard to tell the difference but hologram conference will make it easier for keynote speakers to attend different conferences and avoid long commutes and journeys to get there.
Holograms could also be used to broadcast to a virtual audience. This could draw in larger crowds and give a range of people the chance to attend conferences, even if they don’t want to go through the hassle of travelling, booking accommodation, etc.
In the office, co-workers would talk to each other informally a lot throughout the day. Whether they have a quick chat in between tasks at their desks, or while they’re making coffee, casual conversations with colleagues can prevent workplace isolation and boost team morale.
Holograms could be great for facilitating these informal conversations and people will get that human connection that they crave while working from home, and it feels much more lifelike than just speaking to someone over Zoom.
In many offices, the receptionists are often not able to work from home as they need to physically be in the office to greet people, answer questions, etc.
Using hologram calls, receptionists and other administrative employees could work safely from home and just project their images into the office to help people who aren’t working remotely.
Whether you’re training up new staff or offering exciting training opportunities for existing staff, you could offer much more tailored and professional training sessions with holographic telepresence.
You would not just be restricted to trainers in your local area, but could get industry leaders from across the globe broadcasted into your office to deliver training to your employees in an instant.
It also means that your employees can stay at home or work remotely from abroad, and still attend all of the sessions they need to.
Can holographic communication replace human interaction?
Hologram technology could be an extremely exciting addition to the modern office. However, it needs to be further developed before it can be widely adopted by all businesses.
Although technology is advancing, there still will never be a complete replacement for human interaction.
For many companies, flexibility is key. Hologram technology could be utilised effectively, but no one should ignore the benefits of flexible working space and other hybrid working systems that mix technology with real human interaction.
We think that for a successful workplace and happy staff, human connection should always be prioritised and that technology should be used to facilitate this.