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Has the Future Finally Arrived for Hologram Technology?
August 27, 2020 at 5:15 PM
by Chris Young

A Q&A with Evercoast CEO Ben Nunez on the state of Hologram Technology in the age of COVID-19

It’s been (gulp!) 43 years since my 4 year old brain first tried to process the idea of holograms thanks to Princess Leah and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yet, since that time we’ve not advanced nearly enough to approach the possibilities inherent in that iconic scene. There have been some notable attempts to get there, but, when it comes to hologram technology it’s still very much early days. As with everything else, though, COVID-19 is acting as an accelerant for the space.

Back in the spring, as I watched the selection of events that I was looking forward to attending over the summer (Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Elton John) all go up in a pandemic fueled ball of flames, the potential for a remote live viewing experience buoyed by hologram technology suddenly seemed more relevant than ever, even necessary. It seems — at long last — as if hologram technology is finally poised for a serious breakthrough.

To dive into this further, I reached out to Ben Nunez the CEO of Evercoast, an integrated software and cloud rendering platform that streams real-time live broadcast and on-demand pre-recorded holograms, to get his point of view on the state of hologram technology today, what’s holding it back and what we should expect from it going forward.

Ben Nunez, CEO of Evercoast

Chris Young: Describe the current state of the hologram industry in general from a technological standpoint.

Ben Nunez: The latest advancements we’re excited about are the ones that are enabling the creation and streaming of volumetric content at scale. For the few years it’s been around, volumetric has been very difficult and expensive to create, and thus we haven’t seen a lot of it. That’s changing now, particularly with systems like Evercoast’s that are small scale, portable, scalable, still very high quality and yet a fraction of the cost of other systems in the market.

Live streaming of volumetric data is another huge advancements we’ve made and are excited to launch this Fall. The ability to have a live fashion show in 3D with photoreal humans is at our doorstep.

COVID created a tailwind to trends that were already in motion: remote, immersive, virtual, work from home, 2D to 3D…and combined with other technologies that are advancing like 5G, edge computing, machine learning, XR, and computer vision, volumetric is primed to see significant growth in the years ahead.

Chris Young: With Fashion Week right around the corner, how would you characterize the fashion industry’s embrace of Hologram Tech pre and post COVID?

Ben Nunez: We think it’s important to distinguish between hologram and 3D. The former is a loosely used term to describe what many believe is a projection of people and objects into thin air, ala Princess Leia in Star Wars or even Tupac at Coachella.

What volumetric technology enables is the creation of true 3D content that can be consumed on any device for uses like aiding decisions across the entire fashion value chain, from pre-production between suppliers and designers, to consumer purchasing at the point of sale.

One of the early examples of volumetric in fashion was “Ashley Graham, Unfiltered” — an experience created by Joanna Nikas, a New York Times Styles editor, that explores issues around body image with model and activist Ashley Graham.

The promise ahead for volumetric in the fashion industry is rooted in the use of photoreal 3D human models, in full motion. For consumers, the ability to try on clothes without physically trying on clothes, the virtual dressing room, has been a dream for a long while. The technology is there to do it now.