John G. Apostolopoulos, Philip A. Chou, Bruce Culbertson, Ton Kalker, Mitchell D. Trott, and Susie Wee
Communication has seen enormous advances over the past 100 years including radio, television, mobile phones, video conferencing, and Internet-based voice and video calling. Still, remote communication remains less natural and more fatiguing than face-to-face. The vision of immersive communication is to enable natural experiences and interactions with remote people and environments in ways that suspend disbelief in being there. This paper briefly describes the current state-of-the-art of immersive communication, provides a vision of the future and the associated benefits, and considers the technical challenges in achieving that vision. The attributes of immersive communication are described, together with the frontiers of video and audio for achieving them. We emphasize that the success of these systems must be judged by their impact on the people who use them. Recent high-quality video conferencing systems are beginning to deliver a natural experience - when all participants are in custom-designed studios. Ongoing research aims to extend the experience to a broader range of environments. Augmented reality has the potential to make remote communication even better than being physically present. Future natural and effective immersive experiences will be created by drawing upon intertwined research areas including multimedia signal processing, computer vision, graphics, networking, sensors, displays and sound reproduction systems, haptics, and perceptual modeling and psychophysics.
In Proceedings of the IEEE
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