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Live by hologram: Dr. Simon Leung

Dec 6, 2018

Hologram event

Dr. Simon Leung speaking via holographic telepresence

Thanks to technology, the world is getting smaller.

Case in point: Dr. Simon Leung, LLD ’05, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited, delivered a lecture on international business from Hong Kong via hologram technology to an audience in Toronto. And it was almost like he was in the room.

“One of the big differences of appearing as a hologram instead of regular flat panels, is the notion of presence,” said Larry O'Reilly, Chief Executive Officer of ARHT Media Inc., which provided the holographic telepresence for the event. “The audience gets the impression that Simon is actually looking into our eyes. There’s a little bit of the Mona Lisa effect.”

Drawing from more than 30 years of global business experiences in information technology and telecommunications industries with companies such as Motorola and Microsoft, Leung discussed the potential for new technology to change international business. It was all part of the Donald L. Triggs Lecture in International Business, led by Professor Paul Beamish, HBA ’76, PhD ’84. 

Leung discussed how his company has been using hologram technology in the education sector to offer alternative modes for learning and create online communities of teachers, students, and parents.

“We believe we can interrupt and disrupt education in a positive way,” he said.

He also gave advice to Canadian companies about going international. Here are some takeaways:

The key markets

While China is a popular market, Leung said India, Egypt, and Russia are growing markets to consider. His company is also active in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and France. Recent China-U.S. trade tensions might create more opportunities for Canadian and Chinese companies to work together, he said.

The key sectors

Leung said there are plenty of opportunities for Canadian companies to innovate with international partners in areas such as FinTech, big data, machine learning, and e-learning. The education sector is growing, even in mature markets. Leung said technology in education started in Europe, followed by the U.K., and North America, and now such locations are preparing for a new wave of technology upgrades.

How technology can help

The Internet and other new technologies are creating a level playing field and making it easier for companies to access different locations. Leung’s company expanded to other countries largely through viral marketing. Communications technologies, such as videoconferencing and holographic telepresence, make it easier to simulate face-to-face meetings without travel.

“The new technology coming in will allow smaller companies to compete with the bigger ones when going international,” he said.

We also caught up with Larry O'Reilly and Paul Beamish after the event. O'Reilly spoke to us about the impact of hologram technology on international business, while Beamish gave advice to Canadian companies on entering the China market.

Listen to the interviews below.

The Donald L. Triggs Lecture in International Business

The Donald L. Triggs Lecture in International Business serves as a tool to assist in the development of a global leadership position for Canadian-based businesses.

Listen to an interview with Larry O'Reilly

Listen to an interview with Paul Beamish