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One-step closer to time travel: how 5G let Piero Angela appear on-stage from 500km away

06 Oct 2020

Sabrina Baggioni

5G Program Director, Vodafone Italy

Have you ever wished you could be in two places at once?

At Tempo Delle Donne 2020 (The Time of Women) in Milan’s Triennale Exhibition Centre, the organisers wished this more than once, especially with the added challenges of COVID-19.

Hosted by national newspaper Corriere della Sera and supported by a range of partners from across the Italian economy, the event blended digital and physical. A series of web-only events supported a streamed three-day live show, celebrating the achievements of women in technology and business across Italy.

I was invited to speak about the CampBus, a state of the art bus loaded with artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities, powered by Vodafone 5G. Together with our partners, CampBus drives new technology into the classroom during the pivotal first four weeks of back-to-school, giving young people access to the tools that will help them thrive in a digital world. 

Joined by speakers from participating schools, institutes and government bodies I have no shame in admitting that we were all most excited about our final panellist, renowned Italian science author and broadcaster, Piero Angela.

A new type of special guest appearance

However, there was a problem. At 91 years of age, Piero and his family must take extra care, especially in the current pandemic. He also lives in Rome, some 573km from Milan. The question, then, was how could we bring Piero Angela safely to the stage to share his thoughts on CampBus?

The answer lies in 5G. Working closely with event staff and leveraging our experience in 5G solutions, gained through over 50 business trials in Milan, Vodafone were able to bring Piero to the audience in an instant: live on stage as a 3D hologram.

The hologram was so realistic and the interaction so fluid that it felt like we could have reached out and shaken hands; from Piero’s position in his seat, to his zero latency instantaneous answers, to his gestures and the way his face lit up as he expressed his passion for the project. A well-known technology enthusiast, Piero recognised the opportunity for young people when they can access and use these digital tools.

Blending the physical and digital space

As we prepare for winter across Europe it’s clear that, in the coming months at least, we will not be going back to the way things were. Instead we must embrace

 A new way of working and living, a way that protects the vulnerable in our society and keeps people safe.

Technology will continue to be crucial, connecting us to friends, families and colleagues. And as the physical space becomes less defined, opportunities to communicate like the one demonstrated by Piero at the Tempo delle Donne will become more important than ever.

Seeing is believing – take a look at the video below and imagine what could be possible as this amazing technology grows:

Sabrina Baggioni 5g hologram summary video

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