As Stephen Abram has so often told us, what the entertainment industry if you want to see what technology will be mainstream next. And what’s next would seem to be 3D holograms. The potential for libraries, public – academic – government – corporate – libraries in all sectors, is enormous and incredibly exciting. This is not about science fiction, and there shouldn’t be eye-rolling. As a recent photo-article in ITBusiness.ca points out, it is the natural evolution of videoconferencing.
Libraries today should be using videoconferencing as part of their service point or as a service for patrons. Granted most patrons use the free videoconferencing of Skype, iChat, Google, Tokbox or others; students with iPhones use videocalling as naturally as they text. But there are also the higher quality videoconferencing tools; I’ve used ooVOO, and Adobe’s, and there’s also Cisco, Citrix, and Microsoft offers. No doubt there are many more that I haven’t even heard of. Let me know. The point is, that even those with a price tag attached (and a better quality, plus multi-user options) are within range of most libraries. These tools blend high-touch with high-tech, both of which are critical for library positioning and library-client relationships. Libraries can use videoconferencing for programming too — bringing in speakers from anywhere in the world to interact and engage with groups. My neurologist performs surgeries with videoconferencing across the country, so there’s no reason we can’t be using this technology to for programs and individual or small group service engagement.
Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab in Kingston, Ontario has “created a star trek-like human-scale 3d videoconferencing pod that allows people in different locations to video conference as if they are standing in front of each other.” “Why skype when you can talk to a life-size 3d holographic image of another person?” says Professor Roel Vertegaal, Director of the Lab.
Imagine the programming using 3D holographic images. I know, I know the price tag attached to these is beyond libraries right now. But for how long? Let’s get ready by optimizing and stretching the opportunities of videocalling and videoconferencing, and then, teleporting will be ours for the taking!