Predictions for 2023 – a Very Personal Take on the Year Ahead

If the industry needed further evidence that holographic technology is in a strong and healthy condition, it need look no further than the range and quality of nominations for the ‘Excellence in Holography 2022 Awards’ which were presented at The Holography Conference Online (THCO) in December 2022.

Within the pool of nominations, you could find examples of superb quality originations for printing banknotes and ID cards, innovative combinations of holography with other optical phenomena in the displays sector and stunning advances in computer generated holograms.

But what does 2023 have in store for imagery that uses wavefront reconstruction, either in part or as a whole, to manipulate light? Here are some of my predictions for the year ahead.

High security print

2022 saw holography being used in conjunction with other non-holographic techniques to expand the palette of colour, movement and dynamic shapes used to help the public and investigators differentiate between real and fake documents of value.

Most of the vertically integrated high security printers now have in-house holographic as well as micro- and nano- optics capabilities or have long standing relationships with specialist originators.

The trend to bring origination capabilities in-house is set to increase in 2023 as the innovation cycle time decreases and printers try to find ways to get their technologies specified in tender documents for banknotes.

ID document producers are similarly using hybrid optical technologies to protect against fraud. I fully expect the trend of using colour personalisation and optically variable image devices to protect the secondary portrait on ID and travel documents to continue through 2023 as the threat of portrait morphing becomes more common.

I see this trend of hybrid optical deterrence, where different technologies engineer the surface and volume of a substrate, not as evidence of holography being ousted from its position as the premier optical anti- counterfeit technology, but as testament to its flexibility and the innovation of optical engineers.

Look out, also, for a possible return of true- 3D features. There is a feeling amongst some high security print suppliers that the combination of movement, colour and dynamic shapes, whilst being eye- catching, is getting too complex for the public to authenticate with casual inspection. An alternative might be the return to ‘solid’ three-dimensional holograms using video, computer graphics or virtual reality (VR) input to holographic printers that create scenes of universally recognisable people and objects.

Brand protection

As countries started to emerge from lockdowns in 2022, the pent-up demand for branded products was, to some extent, released and many countries witnessed an uptick in economic activity. This, in turn produced a growth, or re-emergence, of fraud in all its guises for products and brands as demand increased, supply chains were stretched, and companies struggled to fulfil their order books.

Holography has always played a leading role in brand protection labelling. In 2023, the technology is set to become even more integrated with other technologies to create intuitive brand engagement programmes that will attract end users to actively engage with the holographic label, rotating and tilting it to discover hidden features.

At the same time, authentication through scanning a QR code on the label will act as a secondary product verification method and provide a simple platform for brands to interact and engage with their customers.

The hologram on labelling will also become part of a wider function to track a product throughout its life, and post-life, cycle. This combination of authentication and tracking will give brand owners complete visibility and control from sourcing raw materials through to recycling.


Like it or loathe it, the term ‘holo’ has become the preferred prefix for technologies that can display or transmit people or objects as images that appear solid to the viewer. Within the pages of HN, these technologies are collectively referred to as ‘holopresence’, as they provide a range of the variety of optical cues necessary to convince a viewer that the person/object is present.

These holopresence technologies are divided into two camps:

  • Theatre based – where projection images might be pre-recorded and then played back in a theatre, concert hall or other venue, under controlled lighting and audience conditions.

  • Transmitted – where optics, digital graphics and fast telecommunications are combined to send (close to) real time images of people across continents.

Up until now, theatre based holopresence performances have been able to provide more convincing 3D images of people in a theatre compared with transmitted images over a telecoms network onto a device.

But with the roll out of 5G networks due to accelerate in 2023, that is going to change. The higher-speed, larger bandwidth and low-latency communications that 5G networks promise will deliver smooth, seamless holopresence along with the ability for verbal communication between the sender and receiver – adding to the convincing sense of presence.


Not to be outdone by the commandeering of the term ‘holo’ by providers of holopresence, holographic artists will make further strides to mix holography with digital media to create 3D works of art.

This merger between holographic and other media will be exemplified by the Virtual Museum of Holography (VMOH), an initiative of the HoloCenter in Kingston, New York.

The VMOH will be home to two different ways of accessing information about holography. Anchored by a conventional website built on a database of information, it will contain 2D images, 2D video, and text forming the foundational archive. This record of the history of holography will tell the stories of the pioneers who have contributed to the medium and become a gateway to accessing a library of scientific and artistic information.

In addition, the VMOH is partnering with a technology company to create immersive experiences of holograms. You will soon be able to enter the VMOH through a portal on the conventional website and by wearing a VR headset you will find yourself in the virtual museum, where you can explore exhibitions of holograms recorded using Light Field Technology.

My own foray into creating holographic sculptures from VR created imagery (see HN March 2022) has convinced me that this approach releases the holographic artist from the constraints of 2D visualisation and offers boundless opportunities for collaboration between holographers and digital artists. Whether these opportunities will be fully realised by the end of 2023, I am less sure.


Set to be one of the biggest topics for all business sectors in 2023, the issue of industrial sustainability is one that the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) will be championing in 2023.

Many IHMA members are already reporting on their sustainability efforts as part of their corporate responsibility strategies. The role of the IHMA Sustainability Working Group will be to encourage member organisations to encourage best practice by sharing information, within the working group, about their high-level commitments and companywide initiatives.

Taking a lead on the formation of the IHMA Sustainability Working Group will be John Winchcombe (convener of Reconnaissance’s Cash & Payments Sustainability Forum™ in Edinburgh) who ended his presentation at THCO with a clarion call for 2023 – Volunteers Needed!

If you would like to get involved in the IHMA Sustainability Working Group, please contact John at