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Are holograms soon to be a reality?

Forget facetime – would you like to send a hologram message? Yes, just as George Lucas imagined in 1977, with Princess Leia’s urgent message to Obi-wan Kenobi in Star Wars (Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope). The 5G technology that can make this a reality is estimated to be only five years in the future. This tech will enable greater volume of data and much quicker speeds. So, if you’re involved 5G development, make sure you’re getting your R&D tax credit to invest in upcoming innovations.

What is 5G technology?

5G technology isn’t just about holograms, it means “fifth generation mobile networks” and its aims are:

  • More reliable connections
  • More people able to use the system simultaneously
  • Much faster upload and download speeds
  • Broader coverage of geographical areas

This will provide the necessary network for the Internet of Things to expand further and will advance the capabilities of other tech, like drones, wearable fitness trackers and self-driving cars.

If you are involved in adapting any of this, or similar technology to 5G, there is a very high chance that you are eligible for R&D tax credits.

But what about the potential for hologram messages?

Knowledge Transfer Network’s Richard Foggie explains to the BBC; “Right now, some sort of headgear or enclosed ‘cave’ is required to view holographics, but within five years I think we’ll see AR/VR [augmented reality/virtual reality] just sprout out of the phone.You could use it for video, playing games or industrial applications – even hologram phone calls.”

So, systems that currently require expensive specialist user units, like head gear, will be usable on mobile devices. Even if you’re not sending anything as important as plans for the Death Star, you’ll be able to send messages, watch video and play games with a considerably enhanced experience.

Where are we now with these developments?

Some companies are already unveiling some of their achievements so far – and they are truly astonishing:

  • First 5G hologram call in the UK

Just this month, Vodaphone made the first British 5G hologram call connecting Manchester and Newbury. The call was from Steph Houghton MBE, Captain England and Manchester City Women’s Football Teams and a football super fan, 11 year old Iris. The technology enabled Steph to appear on stage beside Iris and answer some of her questions with demonstrations that everyone could see clearly.

  • First international 5G hologram call

Korean Telecom and Verizon (US) made the first international hologram call in 2017. An employee of Verizon in America appeared in Seoul, as a hologram, to have a chat with an employee of KT.

  • First live concert using 5G hologram technology

Mischa Dosler and his daughter Noa performed a cover of ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ by Kiss last year using 5G technology. He was playing piano in Brandenburger Tor in Berlin and she sang from The Guildhall in London. The tiny 20 milliseconds of delay enabled them to complete the performance without any timing issues. As well as being a pianist, Mischa Dosler works at King’s College London as a professor specialising in wireless communications.

Are there any barriers to the development of 5G technology?

The two main barriers are of cost and geographical coverage. The concern is that the brand new technology will be too expensive for many consumers, which will slow down the impetus for companies to invest in further R&D. Also, it will only be available in towns and cities to start with, widening the gap in terms of accessibility to technology for those living in the countryside. This is because, initially, there will need to be a commitment to invest in new antennae and mobile towers.

Whatever your involvement in the use of mobile technology, if your business is doing R&D into how to incorporate 5G technology opportunities, don’t forget to include claiming R&D tax credits in your planning stage.

 

Jamie Smith

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