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Former SBS MBA Director Envisions Holographic Strathmore School Reunion

  Feb 10, 2015

“A few weeks ago I was thinking about organising a high school reunion, getting everyone together. But there is just one major problem; a good number of us don’t live in the same country.

Image Credits: GDG North Jersey Youtube video

If we were to make it happen, I would literally have to beam them in… I could get their holograms in the room, get them walking around, talking to everyone…”

Citing the example of Tupac Shakur being beamed at the Coachella concert in 2012, Vincent Ogutu, former MBA Program Director at Strathmore Business School (SBS), who is currently pursuing a PhD in Organisational Management, on a Fulbright Scholarship at Rutgers University in the US, gave a presentation at a ‘Google Solve for X’ event in New York. The event was organised by GDG North Jersey, the only active Google Developer Group in New Jersey, US.

His ‘moonshot’ as such presentations are called, centred on developing a new technique that would make holographic interactions ‘more meaningful’, and simulate teleportation. “We have the technology,” he said. “(But) we have a serious bandwidth problem. You are sending a ton of information over the internet, which is not the same as capturing that information in a room and projecting it in the same room.”

The solution, he says, lies neither in expanding the bandwidth nor in compressing the information more. “Maybe we are sending too much information. We don’t have to send it all,” he said. Instead, since visual characteristics don’t change rapidly, a model (avatar) of the person would be stored at the destination at the start of transmission and then manipulated using instructions dictated by his/her movement, meaning that only the instructions would subsequently have to be captured and sent.

This way, information about the visual characteristics of the person doesn’t have to be transmitted over and over again, drastically cutting down on the amount of information that has to be sent to the destination, and going around the bandwidth problem entirely. The instructions would consist only of the vectors of crucial parts of the body such as the tip of the nose, whose movement is always indicative of head movement.

Such holographic interactions would eliminate the need to travel, thus saving time and money, while still making for as realistic a reunion as possible. What does this mean? Well, people can go to places around the world more conveniently, being there instantly and in real time. The only limitation is that holograms can’t be touched.

Vincent Ogutu was the MBA Program Director at Strathmore Business School from 2006 to 2009. He is a scholar on organizational behaviour and social entrepreneurship, and wants to make a difference by researching how people find meaning at work.

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