Columbia Shipmanagement introduces holograms for remote interaction

Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) has invested in new hologram portal technology to be used for interactive training and to reduce unnecessary travel by conducting hologram-led international business meetings.

“The future is already here,” said Columbia Shipmanagement President and CEO Mark O’Neil, as he addressed an audience in Manila as a hologram beamed from Limassol, Cyprus, nearly 9,000 km away.

“The equipment we use is high tech but very portable and takes the whole issue of speaker contributions to conferences or business meetings to a completely different level. A fleet director in one part of the world can mentor ships’ officers attending a conference in another, while customers and suppliers can have more intuitive and interactive meetings without having to step on a plane and fly thousands of miles to a meeting.”

“This is ‘tomorrow’s world’ happening today and we are delighted to be able to make it a reality.”

The life-size 3D hologram appears in 4K resolution and allows the user to talk to, see and hear the people at the remote location using technology developed by Los Angeles-based company PORTL, which has worked with CSM for over a year on the system.

Mr O’Neil was filmed talking to the audience in a purpose-built ‘capture’ studio in OneLearn Global’s offices in Limassol. He was able to see the audience based in the Nautilus Pacific Maritime Training Centre in Manila, while they saw him standing life size within a 2.4m glass-fronted computerised box.

These boxes, or portals, have built in speakers so the hologram’s voice can be heard, as well as cameras and microphones so the person appearing as a hologram can see the audience in front of their own projection.

“The technology is exciting, and we will be looking to implement it very soon in the New Year. There is next to no latency or delay to the transmission and the hologram is so lifelike you would think the person was actually in the room with you,” said Capt Faouzi Fradi, CSM Group Director Crewing and Training.

“But there is a serious side to all of this. By using this technology, anyone who needs experts or senior management to attend meetings can have them beamed in. We used to fly people to Manila for £3,000 plus the cost of a hotel and the loss of a few days travel, but now they can contribute without leaving their country. Even experts who are unable to travel can be beamed in.”

“It takes the ‘meeting’ concept to a new level. And that is what is so exciting about it all.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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