Cisco launches Webex Hologram for AR meetings

The platform promises to deliver photorealistic and real-time holograms to hybrid workers

Hybrid workers will be able to join meetings using a 3D hologram using technology provided by Cisco, the company announced on Wednesday.

Webex Hologram is the tech giant’s latest hybrid work product, and aims to use augmented reality (AR) technology to bridge the gap between virtual and in-person collaboration.

As opposed to the Sims-like avatars offered by Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms, Cisco’s Webex Hologram promises photorealistic and real-time holograms of actual people using headsets from Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens.

The technology will make it possible to deliver hands-on demonstrations, with users being able to share digital as well as physical content, making it well suited for training purposes.

One example of a use scenario is in auto mechanics, with Zak Brown, CEO of Cisco client McLaren Racing, saying that Webex Hologram is “a powerful tool for our design engineers, drivers and crews as we continue to reimagine hybrid sports and support our team on tracks around the world”.

Cisco’s technology eliminates the need to physically transport a car technician to the place where they are needed, saving travel costs and time.

"We can immediately show an engine component from every angle, convey sizing, and instruct on assembly and usage as if they were in person,” said Brown.

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The new offering comes as new Cisco research finds that 64% of employees agree that a company’s ability to offer remote work determines whether they will decide to stay at or leave that company.

Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager at Cisco Security and Collaboration said that the tech giant aims to “empower the three billion digital workers on the planet to participate equally from anywhere in the world”. 

"Webex Hologram represents a large step toward our mission of delivering a work experience so seamless that there is no gap between virtual and in-person collaboration,” he added.

Webex Hologram is currently only available to a limited number of customers as part of a pilot programme that companies can apply to be part of. Following the trial and subject to customer feedback, Cisco will expand the availability of Hologram with a beta offering.

Webex Hologram comes amid an uncertain future for remote workers, with some being persuaded to return to the office due to pay cuts and government advisory.

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