Holographic meetings headed to WeWork locations

As companies commit to WFH in the long term, a sci-fi twist on remote collaboration could add a new element to standard video meetings in the era of Zoom fatigue.

hologram.jpg

Image: ARHT Media

Remote workers have used a number of virtual collaboration tools like Zoom and Teams during the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to new linguistic offerings a la "Zoom fatigue" as a result of round-the-clock video conferences. On Tuesday, ARHT Media, a hologram technologies company, announced a partnership with WeWork to integrate holographic presentations to coworking spaces around the globe. Holographic stand-up meetings could soon be part of the standard remote workday.

SEE: IT expense reimbursement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

"Bringing ARHT Media's HoloPresence technology to our locations was a natural progression in our ongoing efforts to redefine the future of work," said Hamid Hashemi, chief product and experience officer at WeWork. "As the world increasingly craves the energy and productivity that in-person interactions deliver, we believe this technology will play a critical role and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of this new offering."

As part of the initial rollout, ARHT Media said its hologram technologies will be introduced in 16 worldwide WeWork locations by the third quarter of this year with a total implementation involving up to 100 locations. "Select" WeWork locations will feature ARHT Media-hosted so-called Capture Studios where people are able to "record and stream events where they can appear live on one of three types of displays," the company said. This includes the HoloPresence, HoloPod and the Virtual Global Stage, or a mixed presentation involving all of these options.

In a press release, ARHT Media detailed the potential benefits associated with these hologram conferencing capabilities such as companies seeking to provide "more impactful interactions than traditional streaming and video conferencing offers," while decreasing travel costs. Listed use-cases include holographic town townhalls, education seminars, recruitment meetings, training with "no noticeable latency."

Subscribed WeWork members and nonmembers will both be able to book these hologram spaces via the WeWork website, according to the release.

"WeWork offers the very best venues globally to showcase our technology and many of our existing clients are WeWork members," said ARHT CEO Larry O'Reilly. "This large scale adoption of the entire suite of our technologies, including access to content creation from ARHT, is a significant endorsement of the value we bring to our clients."

SEE: Juggling remote work with kids' education is a mammoth task. Here's how employers can help (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Hologram market competition

ARHT Media is not alone in the hologram tech space. As TechRepublic reported last August, the company PORTL is also developing a personal home hologram machine for a sci-fi twist on virtual collaboration.

The Epic PORTL measures seven feet high, five feet wide by two feet deep and comes with a reported price of $60,000. Although the company also presented a video of a much more compact miniature version of the device last summer.

In our conversation last year, CEO and founder of PORTL David Nussbaum told TechRepublic the mini had a projected price of about $2,000 although this price could be lower. Nussbaum also mentioned being intrigued by Peloton and Mirror pricing bundles and exclusive content subscriptions.

Also see