By overcoming the challenges of distance and time, Holopresence Technology from ARHT Media provides audiences with presenters in their most realistic form. ARHT Media utilizes a holographic display that allows performers and presenters to interact with audiences in real time, while eliminating the limitations of physical presence.
As an advanced and sophisticated method of presentation, the Holopresence technology works to beam presenters into one or multiple locations at the same time, from any place in the world. While audience members get to enjoy the holographic presence of the speaker in real time, presenters can interact with audiences around the world without having to travel in person.
While mitigating the complications of travel and scheduling conflicts, ARHT Media provides a more human approach to remote presentations. Although we’ve become accustomed to the existence of remote learning and hybrid events, ARHT Media’s Holopresence technology allows presenters to engage with their audiences directly with their words and movement.
“With over 50% of communication being non-verbal body language, we have been searching for a technology solution that large enterprises can use to communicate with more engagement than the talking-head video conference – especially now since so many employees are working from home,” explained MVCC President, Glenn Burgess, in his interview with ARHT Media. View the full interview with Burgess here.
As a perfect blend of in-person and remote presentations, the holographic technology provides the personality of a live event with the safety and mindfulness of a remote setting. Not only is the device cognizant of health restrictions as it provides an alternative to inviting an in-person speaker, but it also limits unnecessary travel, especially for short periods of time, as the presenter can speak directly from their home instead of commuting to a venue.
Since the Holopresence Technology minimizes the stress and environmental implications of frequent travel, the advanced device provides venues and universities with access to premium talent. For speakers who live across the world or educators with busy schedules, ARHT Media provides a solution to the limitations of physical presence by allowing high-profile guests from all over the world to visit a stage in seconds.
“ARHT Media’s Virtual Global Stage and HoloPresence technology are re-humanizing the executive’s virtual performance by allowing multiple presenters from different locations to beam-in and interact with each other in real-time,” Burgess explains. Essentially, this elevated technology form ARHT Media facilitates more accessible meetings for visitors who would otherwise need to travel a long distance, or participants whose in-person presence is inhibited by health risks.
Additionally, this holographic technology is useful for instances where keynote speakers are required to be in two venues at the same time. Instead of making a difficult decision to attend one event over another, lecturers can deliver the same address to several different audiences at once, in real time. With ARHT Media, speakers can interact with an audience in New York and London simultaneously, with no travel. Not to mention, the holographic presence makes public speaking more comfortable for the presenter, as they will not be intimidated by the size of a traditional in-person audience.
The Holoprescence Technology from ARHT Media transcends time and space by allowing presenters to exist in several venues at once, addressing and interacting with multiple audiences at the same time. While in-person conferences are limited to the travel and scheduling capabilities of guest speakers, this advanced technology overcomes the limits of traditional conferences and events. ARHT Media’s technology serves as inspiration for event planners and opens conferences up to high-profile speakers across the world, while inspiring audiences by engaging them with renowned educators. With ARHT Media, users can create an audience connection more powerful than ever.
An interview with Sam Taylor, Senior Vice President and COO, Almo Professional A/V
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, we are settling in and setting our sites on new goals in 2021. And yes, while 2021 is already starting with its share of challenges, there is a bright glimmer of expectation for the future, especially in Pro AV!
With recent AVIXA reports showing 7-8 percent growth this year, the Pro AV market continues to march ahead. In fact, according to AXIXA’s 2020 Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis, North American Pro AV revenue is expected to grow to $78.5 billion in 2021, up from $74.3 billion in 2020.
There are other glimmers available to small businesses in our industry. The latest COVID-19 Relief Package signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020 provides a second round of assistance to companies in need. See the see the full article from NSCA for complete details.
Many lessons were learned in 2020. Like most companies, the Almo Pro A/V crew was also challenged with cancelled events, the work-from-home learning curve, and moving quickly to offer new ways to keep reseller and integrator partners learning, working and relevant.
We sat down with Sam Taylor, Vice President and COO for Almo Pro A/V to get his perspective on the highs and lows of 2020 and what to expect from Almo in 2021. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What was the single greatest challenge for Almo in 2020?
Sam: The most difficult part was the inability to begin or complete installations due to facility closures. We’ve experienced a “W-shaped” business cycle with projects at a hard stop in the spring, only to come roaring back in the summer, then closing down again in the late fall with re-opening starting to happen again now.
Q: How has Almo responded to this challenge?
Sam: Two primary ways, by keeping our partners educated on new trends and opportunities in the industry and providing them with relevant products/services/support they need to keep their business moving forward – either with existing opportunities or with new ones. While many markets like hospitality and onsite events were paused, others like distance learning for education and working from home for corporate businesses had urgent new AV needs.
Q: How is Almo keeping partners educated?
Sam: For the first time in 11 years, and after announcing and preparing for our regional E4 Experience education and networking program to travel to Washington, D.C. and CA last spring, we cancelled our live events and introduced a new virtual platform called E4 Evolution (E4v). E4v was met with such success that it has become a permanent part of the E4 program. With fully curated live and interactive AVIXA-certified sessions led by all-star educators on relevant topics to help attendees thrive, E4v has become the next evolution in live education experiences.
We are soon announcing the next E4v, which will take place in March! Stay tuned for details!
Q: What other measures has Almo taken to support integrators since COVID changed our world?
Sam: We are constantly evaluating and changing direction based on the industry and the needs of our partners. We now offer PPE, disinfectant fogging kits, hand sanitizing kiosks and other point-of-entry products. We supply work-from-home bundles and lecture-capture devices for educators and business professionals. We’ve even entered an exclusive relationship with ARHT Media to offer holographic telepresence technology, which is the next best thing to being live!
At the same time, we’ve expanded our managed services offering, particularly for labor and installation to include drafting and engineering options. So many spaces have to be reworked to accommodate COVID restrictions, like restaurant build-outs and restructured office and educational facilities and most of these changes must be made quickly. Almo provides these services so integrators can use them without having to worry about hiring the experts or managing the overhead. We are ready for you now.
Q: How have you handled shipping and manufacturing delays due to COVID?
Sam: The most common delays we have seen are with cameras and USB audio products due to high demand, particularly for education. We offer multiple manufacturing lines so that if one is delayed, there is usually another to access. We help our partners lock down on product allocations early and build flexible options into their P.O.’s to provide the best possible outcome. Offering managed services to help get those products installed quickly and effectively has also helped our partners complete their projects.
Q: Looking on the bright side, what are some of the positives that emerged as a result of all the challenges in 2020?
Sam: It’s been interesting to see how some of the changes we’ve been forced to make have actually been beneficial. We have the technology to make working from home a professional, productive experience. Our E4v has enabled partners to participate in more educational sessions worth AVIXA CTS renewal units from the comfort and safety of their remote workspace. New projects and new ways of conducting business have created exciting new opportunities for our industry that we have been able to immediately embrace.
What are you looking forward to the most in 2021?
Sam: I cannot wait until I am seeing our customers and our vendor partners in person, and getting back to the business of being together as an industry face to face for business and pleasure. While some things may permanently change, many will stay in a “hybrid” mode for some. As COVID vaccines and treatments become more widely available, public spaces will continue to open, making way for existing projects to continue and new projects to begin. The future is bright!
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR SAM? IF SO, TYPE THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!
This is part three of a three-part blog series on ARHT Media’s new Holographic TelePresence technology, distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Almo Professional A/V. Find part one here and part two here.
You’re in conference calls with partners and coworkers multiple times a day, day after day, week after week. Naturally, you can imagine 2D video meetings have gotten a little old and unimaginative.
ARHT Media and Almo Professional A/V have joined forces. The new partnership brings Holographic TelePresence technology and a new platform for it called the Virtual Global Stage. In case you have not heard, this exciting solution is coming soon to a virtual stage design near you.
While COVID-19 was completely unexpected, we now know a lot more about how work, UCC (unified communications and collaboration) and meeting culture will change. Acting upon this new knowledge now is totally in your power.
What is hologram technology used for? Here are a few applications for which Holographic TelePresence is a perfect fit:
Higher education. Yes, we can do our virtual teaching through video conferencing platforms. But with more than a few people on each session, the personal feel you’re yearning for pretty much vanishes. Classrooms are an ideal place for interactive holographic displays. Why? Because holograms prove particularly useful where a connection is valued.
In the classroom, there’s great importance in seeing facial expressions, storytelling through body language, reading the room before moving onto the next lesson. As great as it is to have Zoom and Teams for digital learning, truly connecting on a 2D platform is tough. Add holography, and picture the wildly enriched lectures and engaging experiences.
Corporate and UCC spaces. The second application to consider as a use case for Holographic TelePresence is corporate. Holographic TelePresence takes the idea of a virtual meeting and infuses it with new energy and possibilities.
While, for now, we see holographic display images used by the C-Suite, widespread use is very possible. In corporate environments, remote or otherwise, ARHT’s technology breaks down the limitations of 2D. Hologram tech in a virtual environment creates an interactive experience that benefits viewers and hologram presenters alike.
Live events, meetings and conferences. Live event programming, while fun and valuable, costs a fortune. Highly desired speakers only have so much time and availability. Consider the possibilities if, suddenly, neither travel nor a large venue were needed. That alone is enough to make an event planner smile.
How great would it be to virtually stage a room and have world-class speakers (think religious leaders, CEOs, politicians, celebrities) at virtual events if the in-person feel was maintained? Booking speakers virtually (who can “beam in” from their remote setup instead of getting on a plane) saves time and finances — plus, it greatly lessens the environmental impact. Through Holographic TelePresence, it’s as though hologram presenters are on stage next to each other.
A Visual Edge and an Emotional Draw: Now Is The Time for 3D Holographic Display Tech
Especially lately, high-status speakers like celebrities are in high demand. But does a 2D video appearance create the connection that an in-person one would? No.
3D hologram meetings and hologram teleconferences deliver a more lifelike presentation and create a bigger emotional draw. In an interview with Inavate Magazine, ARHT Media CEO Larry O’Reilly highlighted an example from December 2018 with “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa.
“He was rehearsing for Saturday Night Live [in New York City],” said O’Reilly. “On Thursday night, he just went to a different studio at 30 Rock, and we beamed him into Mexico City for fan engagement and media events at the IMAX theatre there. The next night, we beamed him into Comic-Con Brazil, where he addressed over 3,000 people live.”
Through its Virtual Global Stage, ARHT leverages the proprietary transmission software that powers its HoloPresence (or “holographic presence”) platform to “beam” multiple presenters into a virtual, online environment. Human holograms then appear in lifesize proportions and can interact with audience members (and the other panelists) virtually.
Hologram solutions are beyond what your customer even knows.
Some may claim that hologram media is a trend — or they’ll say it’s just emerging — but we know otherwise. The benefits of an enhanced teaching presence, a cutting-edge guest appearance or a town hall that doesn’t put you to sleep are massive. We’ve heard people say that futuristic solutions like human hologram technology are just a solution just looking for a problem. COVID-19 has changed this reality.
This is part two of a three-part blog series on ARHT Media’s new Holographic TelePresence technology, distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Almo Professional A/V. You can find part one here.
Providers like Zoom have done an amazing job supporting the new remote world this year. But if you’re now video conferencing all day, you may be “Zoomed out” from all the video calls. I know I am.
What seems like endless video conferences, webinars, and virtual meetings has been, well, fine. And necessary during this cultural shift in work and meetings. But we can only thrive so long on standard 2D video conferencing.
In remote and virtual settings, 2D video conferencing only scratches the surface of what is possible.
In part one of this three-part blog series, we gave you the scoop on something new and exciting that could change video meetings and virtual events. That something is called Holographic TelePresence, and it’s a solution from ARHT Media that brings lifelike, interactive holographic display content to your event, room or computer screen. Holographic TelePresences creates a unique and highly engaging experience like no other.
To add to the excitement, ARHT’s new Virtual Global Stage (VGS)platform is a premium, digital experience. It offers the look and feel of a professional broadcast but streamed online. Through the Virtual Global Stage, presenters, panelists and lecturers around the world can participate from wherever they can access a capture studio.
Imagine the possibilities when you eliminate the need for a huge venue, expensive travel, and the physical gathering of attendees.
Unlike AR and VR, No Headset Is Needed With Holographic TelePresence
Do you know how hologram technology works? Below, we explain how ARHT Media does it.
Using proprietary technology, capture studios, and standard projection equipment, Holographic TelePresence “beams” presenters into one or multiple venues simultaneously. You may also hear the technology referred to as HoloPresence, short for “holographic presence.” Presenters can be located anywhere in the world — they just need the equipment and access to the platform via the web. Along with a new hologram presentation platform known as the Virtual Global Stage, Holographic TelePresence enables hybrid events — with some participants attending remotely and some attending live.
In other words, ARHT’s hologram events can run with all-remote participants/presenters, or with some live and some remote participants/presenters. Attendees and speakers choose how they participate — remotely or face to face — which empowers choice and flexibility. The value is that events can reach their largest possible audience. Organizations can also deliver a premium experience that goes well beyond the 2D video call.
To explain how Holographic TelePresence works, we’ll distinguish it from holograms, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Holographic TelePresence vs. Holograms:There is a distinction to be made between true holograms — 3D images produced in mid-air — and Holographic TelePresence. The “ARHT” (pronounced “art”) in ARHT Media stands for Augmented Reality Holographic Technology. It turns out that ARHT’s solution is not exactly equatable to a hologram, even though the final result appears as one. (Quick note: we will refer to the imagery produced by ARHT’s technology as “holograms;” just know we’re using that term as a general understanding of the final result — lifelike images that appear to the audience as holograms. We’re doing that for simplicity’s sake, not specifically to annoy the technology purists out there.)
Holographic TelePresence vs. AR and VR: How does ARHT’s solution differ from other new hologram technology, virtual reality and augmented reality? VR blocks out your ability to see and hear the real world — usually through a VR headset. AR uses a computer and, sometimes, a special headset or glasses to create digital objects and overlay them onto what you see in our physical world. Are you familiar with Pokémon GO? That’s also augmented reality.
Holographic TelePresence is a projection that uses an illusion effect powered by ARHT’s “HumaGram” technology. ARHT’s technique is more sophisticated than others you may know, like Pepper’s Ghost. Contrasting AR and VR to Holographic TelePresence, ARHT’s solution is neither augmented reality nor virtual reality alone. Holographic AR is steps beyond — no headset or special glasses needed.
With these distinctions and a new understanding, we’re ready to reveal the minimal equipment it takes to deploy ARHT’s hologram technology in any space.
Debunking the Technology
To virtually stage a room, Holographic TelePresence requires a more precise setup than video conferencing or a remote presentation system, but the concept and necessary equipment are pretty straightforward. ARHT’s setup is a combination of video shot in front of a backdrop, then projected on stage (or “on stage,” if being done virtually) onto a screen. So, the production needs a screen, as well as controlled lighting, to ensure the projection is bright and visible.
In an article with Inavate Magazine, Andrew Parry, an online learning video producer at Imperial College Business School, explained further. Elements to consider include the capture space (plus, distance between camera and subject), the height/positioning of the camera, and lighting. In the case of Imperial College’s virtual stage design, Parry explained, lights placed behind the subject backlit everything, including shoes. He added that there were also two lights arranged in front of the subject to improve the lighting of the human hologram on the other end.
Factors such as lighting and camera angle ensure that the final result — holographic display images on the screen — is an accurate representation in terms of body shape and dimensions. Thankfully, the AV industry is quite familiar with the principles of projection, making the execution of this technology, once learned, quite straightforward.
Below, you’ll see some behind-the-scenes photos of the setup in a recent hologram teleconference held live with ARHT’s hologram tech. In the interview, rAVe [PUBS] founder Gary Kayye (beaming in from North Carolina) and Almo’s Sam Taylor (beaming in from Maryland) are using ARHT’s Virtual Global Stage. To the audience, the two appeared virtually on the same “stage” with no editing, and no latency lag, having a real-time conversation about the emerging interactive hologram technology.
Will Hologram Technology Change Business in 2020?
While holograms have gotten plenty of attention in the media these past few years, many could be asking if this is just a trend. Will on-stage holograms like ARHT Media’s become big business? What can we expect from hologram technology in the future?
We believe any industry — higher education, live events, advertising and entertainment, healthcare, corporate spaces, meeting spaces, you name it — will benefit from 3D holographic display technology.
This is part one of a three-part blog series on ARHT Media’s new Holographic TelePresence technology, distributed in the U.S. exclusively through Almo Professional A/V. Look for part two in the coming weeks.
Almo Professional A/V and ARHT Media, Inc. have an exciting new partnership and offering that could transform the landscape for digital meetings, events and hybrid/virtual learning. This new solution, in fact, could enhance almost any application in which a face-to-face interaction or presentation, prior to COVID-19, would have been the norm. The technology, developed by ARHT, is called Holographic TelePresence, and Almo is now the exclusive U.S. distributor for it. Through this solution, we can deliver a unique and highly engaging holographic display experience like never before.
What does this mean for you? Is interactive holographic display technology really something to pay attention to right now?
Holographic teleconferences are here to stay. ARHT’s 3D hologram meetings aren’t just intended to create a one-off “wow” moment — though they definitely do that, and it’s certainly a plus. The real value is when you find a technology platform that helps you overcome a bigger business issue. In the face of COVID-19 today, that bigger business issue is a lack of engagement with remote work, digital and virtual events, and (seemingly endless) conference calls.
The end goal is that participants, both online and in-person, want to use hologram media again and again. ARHT’s hologram tech makes this possible. The technology is ideal for panels, trainings in conference rooms, or even town halls. Hologram tech also amplifies product launches, hologram advertising, hologram teleconferences, hologram trade show displays, and more.
What Is Holographic TelePresence?
The solution, Holographic TelePresence, powers hybrid events that take place both online and offline simultaneously — possible alongside a new feature of the platform called the Virtual Global Stage (VGS). The technology, HoloPresence (or “holographic presence”), enables presenters to appear remotely, as holograms, in front of an audience to speak and interact with them in real-time.
A bit more about how it works:
Presenters appear in lifesize proportions with the capacity to interact with audience members (and the other panelists) virtually. As you saw from the above video, the virtual stage design is clean and to realistic proportions; plus, you can virtually stage a room to your liking.
The Virtual Global Stage is powered by the same proprietary transmission software in ARHT’s new hologram technology; it allows you to “beam in” multiple presenters into any virtual, online environment. The Virtual Global Stage feature is great for applications like large meetings, conferences and events.
Both live and prerecorded hologram appearances are supported for a range of applications — like elevated guest lectures, trade shows, and advertising and marketing campaigns.
This solution completely amplifies virtual interactions, online presentations, and hologram services in a way that your customer has never seen. With it, organizations, advertisers, and event marketers can reach a proportionately larger audience and deliver a premium hologram presentation that goes well beyond the 2D video call. Meanwhile, presenters benefit by being able to use key aspects of natural communication, like body language, to deliver a more engaging message and experience to attendees.
How Do Holograms Work on Stage?
What does the audience actually see when experiencing one of ARHT’s holograms? Proprietary HoloPresence displays — lifelike “holograms” that give a sense of presence and being in the same room as the hologram presenter. Those hologram presenters are realized through augmented reality. (Insider tip: the “ARHT” in ARHT Media stands for Augmented Reality Holographic Technology.)
Quick explanation: The word “hologram” has, perhaps confusingly, become synonymous with any 3D imagery. It’s worthwhile to make the distinction between ARHT’s hologram technology and various illusion effect techniques, like Pepper’s Ghost, used to achieve a 3D effect. Know that we’re using the term “hologram” as a ubiquitous understanding of the final result — lifelike images that appear to the audience as holograms, 3D images in mid-air.
Anyway, any AV arm wanting to add holographic technology to its wheelhouse should understand the different techniques to achieve a 3D effect on stage — and the costs of each. Take ARHT Media’s resurrection of James Naismith, for example. Here, Holographic TelePresence was even more innovative and cost-effective than projections using Pepper’s Ghost. Instead, ARHT’s photorealistic “HumaGram” technique is behind the effect.
If you need proof, Dr. David Lefevre, director of the Imperial College’s Edtech Lab and an ARHT Media client, gives it to you. Dr. Lefevre said to the BBC, “The problem with Pepper’s Ghost is that it can be intricate to set up and can cost about £150,000 to run an event.”
Referencing Holographic TelePresence, “This is simpler — you project upon a glass screen, and a backdrop behind it uses software to give it an illusion of depth. It runs at the low thousands each time, so for the first time universities can afford it,” Dr. Lefevre added.
Low Cost, High Reward: Why Now Is The Perfect Time for 3D Holographic Display Tech
What do hologram solutions do that traditional video doesn’t?
First, there’s a wow factor you don’t get with 2D video conferencing. While holograms seem to be a part of our everyday lives in film, it’s not every day that you actually see this type of presentation technology as such an attainable reality.
Viewers also benefit from more lifelike content, too. In a classroom, for example, presentations from human holograms — whether a guest lecturer or students’ everyday professor — help aid in retention and engagement. The more we can replicate real-life interactivity in our virtual spaces, the more it’ll be embraced.
Even though we all miss that in-person interaction, it is no longer the only way we do business. The mass deployment of video conferencing solutions in early 2020 was a big step forward for AV — but video chat and 2D video conference software only scratches the surface of what’s possible. Holographic TelePresence brings prime-time to all of us and completely enhances the way we interact virtually.