Holographic dining experience allows the Zoom-fatigued to connect remotely

A hologram dining experience uniting families in central London and Edinburgh remotely has been trialled by Virgin Media in what it calls ‘a world first’.

Its ‘Two Hearts Pizzeria’ will be connecting diners located at opposite ends of Great Britain with a real-time holographic dining experience.

The technology, which is powered by Virgin Media’s gigabit network, involves projecting life-size 4K holograms, so that people on the other end can see, hear and interact with one another in real-time, as though they were sitting together at the same table, without having to stare at a screen. 

Half of the futuristic pizzeria is located on the Southbank, London and the other half on Castle Street, Edinburgh.

The broadband provider has also conducted research which shows that half (50 per cent) of Brits are ‘bored’ of video calls with 63 per cent saying they don’t give them the level of interaction they need and want.

With many friends and family still unable to meet in person, 31 per cent of Brits would prefer to keep in touch via hologram as it would help them feel closer (23 per cent) and more connected (24 per cent). More than a third (34 per cent) even suggest hologram calls could help keep the romance alive for those maintaining long distance relationships.

holographic dining experience

Image credit: virgin media

Futurologist and tech forecaster, Dr James Bellini, has predicted that hologram technology will become commonplace in homes by 2030.

“Advancements in technology and lightning-speed broadband mean that pioneering forms of connectivity, such as holograms, are now viable options for when we want to feel closer to those we’re not physically able to be with,” he said.

“With technology moving as quickly as it is now, it wouldn’t be strange for holograms to be commonplace in UK households by the turn of the decade.”

“Holograms can enhance our lives by removing barriers to human connection, be that screens or distance. A more frequent use of the tech could revolutionise the workplace, our social lives and events, travel and leisure or dining experiences.

“Having a 3D life-size, real-time connection with someone via hologram opens up a world of possibility and acts as a great starting point for those looking to re-adjust to normal life as restrictions ease, whilst relieving the longing of wanting to ‘be’ with another person.”

Speaking to the PA news agency, Gareth Lister, Virgin Media’s director of connectivity, said the network infrastructure is ready for such uses, as the gigabit rollout continues.

“The capability is there from a connectivity perspective, it’s going to be the products that sit on the end of it, and then the price of them, that will be what ultimately drives take-up, but a situation like Covid will accelerate it,” he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, many businesses have taken to new ways of working, with holographic and mixed-reality technologies in particular gaining interest.

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