Business Management

Five reasons the business world needs intelligent holograms

This is a contributed piece by Aan Chauhan, Chief Technology Officer, Cognizant


An expectant mother who visits the doctor for a regular check-up nowadays can hear the heartbeat of her developing child and see an abstract ultrasound image. In the very near future, a combination of holographic technology and artificial intelligence can change this experience to something more intimate and life-like where a full 360 degree fully formed view of the child can be seen by the parents throughout the development cycle.

The rapid advancement of holograms can change our world totally and we are already seeing it happening around us. From crazy entertainment like Pokémon Go to politics, mixed reality seems to have a magnetism that draws people. In France, the world of politics has successfully started to use this new technology to address live audiences in multiple places at the same time: during the recent French election campaign, Jean-Luc Mélenchon addressed his supporters in Dijon whilst his holograms were seen simultaneously in six other French cities.

The medical field is also investing great sums in the technology. With increasing adoption of medical holography for education and research, the global holography display market is expected to be USD 1.82 Bn by 2021 and the medical holography market alone is expected to reach nearly USD 1 Billion by 2021.


What does this mean to our world in general and businesses more specifically?

From increasing audience reach, to reducing design costs or helping disaster planning with 3D infrastructure imaging, holography is the next business disruptor that will help us seamlessly merge the real world and the digital world.

Here are a few use cases:

Medical holography – With live holography amplified by AI, doctors can take a look inside a patient’s body in 3D reconstructed from echo signals without having to operate. Be it diagnosis, preventative health, training doctors or purely the emotional factor, holograms have the potential to take the X-ray, Ultrasound, CT-Scan and MRI evolution to the next stage.

Product design – Product designers, engineers, end users can all seamlessly collaborate in the design and development of new products with practically no gaps in visualising the end product. This can speed up innovation and help companies create new products with enhanced user experiences with lesser risk and costs of physical prototypes.

Immersive interactions – Nothing beats personal presence. From telephone conversations we have moved on to video conversations. Holoportation, where we interact with holograms of real people who may be differently located, is already here as evidenced by Mélenchon’s campaign. Across personal, professional and public interactions, holograms can help people be at multiple places at the same time. So “Beam me up Scotty!” will soon go beyond Star Trek!

Enhancing sales processes – Similar to product design, holograms can help customers purchase products after visualising how it fits into their own unique circumstances. From trying on multiple clothes to customising the look and feel of a car, being able to visualise realistic 3D holograms to delve deep and visualize is an extremely intriguing way to capture the customer’s attention and aid their buying decision.

Real time rendering – Rendering holographic 3D models in real-time can give enterprises a new way of mapping geographic terrains overlaid with collateral risk identified by leveraging intelligence from sensors. Be it an insurance company surveying large tracts of land, or a government agency trying to battle forest fires, a combination of holograms and drones can help navigate large tracts of land on a worktable in 3D.


What makes it all work?

The concept of intelligent holograms has always been around as part of sci-fi, but what is really making it tick is the convergence of these technology constructs:

  • First among the drivers is the development of mixed reality headsets like Microsoft HoloLens. Development of these devices makes consumption of holograms more portable and democratic where it can be taken to the people. 
  • Second among the drivers is the better availability and improvement of special cameras that can capture 3-Dimensional information that can recognise depth perception. Such cameras and devices can help capture different perspectives of a subject that can later be used to construct a hologram.
  • Thirdly, the proliferation of sensors across the world that are capturing environmental data around us. Sensor data in real time can help in calibrating real-time behaviour of holograms. For example, if rain is detected, a hologram can open up an umbrella after sensing it.
  • Fourthly, when holograms that provide visual depth merge with AI from the sensor data we spoke of above, we now have a perfect mix of real and virtual overlays. This can create increasingly innovative simulations that can be used in the wide number of use cases. For example, while an ultrasound scan can provide one level of data about the heartbeat, position, and size of a baby in the womb, AI algorithms can build upon these signals and create near real reconstructions of how the baby looks.
  • Finally the abundance of processing power and bandwidth will help the exchange of data and information beyond geographical boundaries helping holograms reach far flung places easily.

Once these develop, companies will be able to create new experiences tapping into a multitude of data sources, private, public, or purchased. For instance, an infrastructure planning company can tap into CAD images and live images of infrastructure, weather data from satellite monitoring stations, and create holograms that will help both people and agencies visualise the effects of different types of inclement weather.

We do not have to wait for the future. The mixed reality headsets for holographic consumption are maturing quickly making hologram viewing portable. Capturing 3-D information on special cameras that recognise depth perception is helping the initial capture of subjects. Sensors around us are capturing the demographic and environmental data around us. And Al algorithms are helping both in understanding the environmental/intent characteristics while deconstructing the captured imagery at source and reconstructing them as holograms at destination. Once the availability of hyperscale processing power and large bandwidth is added, this convergence will make holograms an everyday reality.


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