It has been over a year now since the novel coronavirus first clasped its iron grip on the world. In the UK, things are finally starting to look better as educational institutions, businesses and care homes are starting to open up to visitors once again. However, many are still unable to meet their loved ones and have to communicate through other means.
In an effort to close the gap between such stranded people, Virgin Media has started a new service at two outlets of the Two Hearts Pizzeria. The London and Edinburgh outlets of the restaurant are offering an unusual dining experience to customers while maintaining social distancing rules. Visitors can now participate in a hologram dining experience at these locations.
Customers eating at either outlet will be able to virtually dine with each other in real-time. Virgin described the technology used in the newly launched initiative in the following words:
"The pioneering technology, which involves the projection of life-size 4K holograms, means loved ones separated by the pandemic will be able to see, hear and interact with each other in real-time, as though they were sat together at the same table, without having to stare at a screen."
Jeff Dodds, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, released a statement about the holographic dining experience introduced by Virgin:
“The past year has been a rollercoaster and the support of our loved ones has been more important than ever, be that in real life or virtually. The pandemic has accelerated the need to stay connected online and has created an opportunity to revolutionise the way we use technology, with many permanently changing their habits and behaviours as a result. The real-time holographic technology demonstrated at the Two Hearts Pizzeria is the natural evolution of the video call, and thanks to our gigabit network, we’re serving up a slice of the future.”
Dr James Bellini, a leading British futurologist, has commented on the holographic dining experience. Dr Bellini believes that in the years to come, the use of holograms will be normalized. His belief stems from the fact that allegedly many Britons are 'bored of video calls' and feel that holograms would be more humanistic and emotionally connective.
The hologram dinners are planned to accommodate 30 people in the next two days, but customers need to reserve seats beforehand.