Ericsson Demos Live 3-D Holographic Interview Over 5G

Mike Wheatley

Swedish networking company Ericsson last week carried out a successful demonstration of its 5G capabilities, livestreaming a holographic interview with Vodafone’s CEO Hannes Ametsreiter over the web to the offices of German newspaper Bild.


5G technology is only just starting to roll out in most countries, but it is said to enable ultra-high bandwidth networks with lower latencies than ever before. As such, network operators such as Ericsson are keen to showcase some of its potential use cases.

One such application is called "volumetric display", which is the proper name for 3-D holographic representations. The technology renders a visual representation of an object in three physical dimensions, as opposed to the flat, 2-D images seen on traditional screens.

The problem with live holographic communication is that it requires an awful lot of data to be sent over a network – almost four times as much data as what’s needed to stream 4K video, for example. As such volumetric display can be extremely cumbersome, if not impossible, when doing so with existing networks.

With 5G however, it suddenly becomes a cinch, as Ericsson has proven with its latest demo. Last week it teamed up with Vodafone’s German subsidiary in order to deliver the live interview, which involved combining its 5G infrastructure with connected transport. Vodafone CEO Ametsreiter was actually sat in an electric-powered minibus some 70 kilometres from the Bild’s studio when the interview took place, yet he appeared as a 3-D holograph that was able to interact more fully with the interviewers. The demo used Vodafone’s 5G test licence on 3.5 GHz spectrum, supported by Ericsson’s 5G radio and Cloud Core communications system.

The company then went one step further, teaming up with Greek network operator COSMOTE to stream a holographic music concert. The demo involved band members in scattered across different physical locations in the world, who were merged together onto a kind of holographic stage, where they were able to play together in real-time.

The performance followed an earlier demo by Ericsson and Vodafone that was designed to showcase the launch of the former’s first live 5G network in Ireland. That demo saw Vodafone Ireland’s CEO Anne O’Leary give what Ericsson says was the world's first live interview in 3-D.

All three demos were filmed using special cameras that are able to capture the extra data points needed to create a 3-D representation of a live person, Ericsson said.