In early 2021, i2CAT obtained a grant from Cisco Systems to work on the development of HoloMIT, a 3D holoconferencing system based on the capture, transmission, and representation of volumetric video using Point Cloud, and unfold its potential. The US company highlighted the innovation of the proposal and the projection of the solution to facilitate the transmission and processing of volumetric cloud video and its power to enable a new immersive experience in the remote communications field.
A solution to improve 3D holoconferencing
HoloMIT addressed the challenge of the 3D holoconference by working with Point Clouds rather than Mesh as a presentation format, thus unleashing more significant detail potential from capturing and viewing natural objects. This format presents considerably higher management complexity in terms of computation and data volume. By combining various components for capture, compression, multi-conferencing, and 3D rendering, i2CAT has managed to reduce an end-to-end solution’s computing, data load, bandwidth, and cost needs.
One of the critical parts of HoloMIT is the PC-MCU, a Multipoint Control Unit able to work with Point Cloud that upgrades the concept of MCU to cover the needs of volumetric video. The PC-MCU can receive multiple Point Cloud streams like real-time volumetric video representations and, considering the needs of a multi-user 3D holoconferencing system, create specific streams, optimized for every user depending on their position and viewpoint, reducing resources usage (RAM, CPU, GPU, and bandwidth).
Real-estate and interior design use cases that foster sustainability
This year, the solution has been demonstrated at two of the main technological conferences held in Barcelona, MWC and SCEWC, and at the hotel and interior design conference interihotel. While MWC Barcelona visitors got an initial insight of HoloMIT, at SCEWC, i2CAT selected a real-state use case and showed how HoloMIT can enable remote meetings inside a common virtual world. The SCEWC case presented a co-working space where congress assistants were able to holoport to London in 3D, enter a flat that was being renovated, and meet the designer and architect. Such an initiative avoids constant traveling for minor actions and so reduces the carbon footprint.
At interihotel, attendees were able to try out the VR technology to discover 4 different hotel rooms that had been designed for 4 specific travellers and their needs. Visitors could move around the room and interact with other attendees through a realistic representation (volumetric) coming from the cameras of the phygital holoportation system. The system also allows for users to access the virtual world remotely in 2D format through webcam image capture.
For industries such as interior design, VR technology is an ideal complement for realizing immersive visits with a high degree of realism. It also facilitates safe meetings and sustainable collaboration between professionals located in different locations.
A sector filled with opportunities
The virtual and immersive technologies sector has grown exponentially in recent years, creating a vast range of possibilities and opportunities in fields such as audiovisual production, entertainment, or Industry 4.0. The HoloMIT components used by i2CAT are available for licensing and have great potential for developing new applications in immersive environments.
Besides, 6G will scale connectivity to 1Gbps on mobile devices, and intelligent orchestration of microservices across the network and the cloud continuum will be transparent. Capturing the three-dimensional reality, even live, will be possible, going far beyond the current quality of free-viewpoint video and volumetric video experiences. HoloMIT represents a first step and a powerful testbed towards the next generation of 6G Smart Networks and Services.