Remote meetings as if you were in the office with a 3D camera and virtual reality: Nokia’s big bet for teleworking
Nokia wants to take video calling to the next level. The Finnish company is developing in Spain, through the Bell Labs laboratory, an immersive communication system with which the user can feel that you are in the physical place you are calling thanks to the combination of a device with 360º cameras and virtual reality glasses.
This device, called The Owl, broadcasts a video in 360º and live and sends it, through 5G networks, to the user’s virtual reality glasses remotely, which, Thanks to VR technology, they reproduce the physical space in 3D for the person who is using them.
In this way, the remote user can see the room in which the meeting is taking place in three dimensions, as if I were in it in person, look where you want and interact by voice with the assistants, which allows you to integrate more effectively with the work that is being carried out in the room.
The Owl, however, still has some loopholes. This device enhances the remote user experience by immersing them in a physical 3D environment that they could otherwise only access by moving in person, but only allows you to interact with the people on the other side of the voice communication. So if, for example, you point to an object in the room with your pointer, other attendees have no way of seeing it.
“Right now people on the team can’t visually tell where the person is pointing remotely. We have several solutions designed to make it possible, such as a laser, augmented reality tools or projected augmented reality., but they are not yet implemented ”, explains to Xataka Álvaro Villegas, director of Nokia Bell Labs Spain.
Bell Labs has developed this device with several possible uses in mind. In the video introducing the device, for example, it is shown how it could be used by a company’s remote technical service to help other company employees to assemble a drone. Professional meetings, educational settings or nursing homes are other possible applications that their creators are exploring.
“The list of potential use cases is really long, and now we’re going to start testing all the ideas to see which ones make the most sense. We have already done a couple of tests in a school, so that with the Covid scenario the kids who are at home really have the feeling of being in class with the teacher and their classmates. As well we are going to test it in nursing homes so that the elderly can feel their family around, or take a walk and talk with local residents”Explains Villegas.
Likewise, the director of Nokia Bell Labs Spain points out that, in parallel to these tests, they are working on many technological aspects that have not yet been resolved and they could help make the experience the device provides more real and immersive.
The Owl has just finished its development phase, is not yet commercialized and its release date is unknown.