Marc Carrel-Billiard
Global Senior Managing Director of Accenture Labs
February 28, 2018

Extended Reality: The End of Distance for How We Work and Play


Imagine a world where you can walk the streets of Paris—while sitting in your living room. Collaborate with a virtual team—without leaving your desk. Go behind the scenes of a fashion photo shoot and shop for the clothing the models are wearing—without ever stepping into the room.

That world is here, and the companies embracing it are removing the hurdle of distance—the intractable principle of “needed here, but exists there”. And they are increasing access to people, information and experiences.

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Immersive experiences are changing the way we connect with information, experiences and each other. Through virtual and augmented reality, extended reality is the first technology to “relocate” people in time and space—it’s bringing about the end of distance, and it’s transforming the way we live and work.

Accenture’s 2018 Technology Vision report shows how the physical and virtual worlds are merging. Extended reality (XR) experiences span various levels of interactivity, meshing augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality to create experiences that are:

  • Immersive. You are fully engaged inside a 3D space, versus viewing a 2D screen.

  • Transformative. The experience connects with your brain, causing a powerful physical and emotional impact.

  • Empowering. These experiences transcend physical limitations to achieve the impossible, or unimaginable.

To understand how XR is changing how we live and work, we caught up with Marc Carrel-Billiard, Senior Managing Director of Accenture Labs, who tells us what we can expect.

How is XR different from virtual and/or augmented reality?

[MCB] Extended reality goes beyond virtual or augmented reality. We want to consider all human senses that will transport you in a new reality: audio, visual, haptic (tactile) and olfactory (smell), but also neuronal (brain). The combined effect of all the senses stimulated will “fake” your brain to teleport you in a new reality.

How does XR create new ways to experience work—and play? How is it being used today, and how it will be used tomorrow?

[MCB] The future of XR is bright and exciting; we may use XR to teleport you into a different environment so you can explore them remotely. For example, a travel agency could leverage XR to teleport its clients to various destinations so that they can virtually test them before physically visiting them.

In the future, you can expect to watch movies in completely different ways. We will be able to watch them via XR glasses with audio and tactile sensations. Imagine being able to stop the movie and step into the scene to interact with the actors and then continue playing the movie—it will be a totally immersive and interactive experience!

By 2020, Accenture is poised to be the market leader in the creation of XR experiences. What is Accenture doing to make that happen?

[MCB] Accenture is uniquely positioned to be the leading, differentiated end-to-end solution provider in the XR space for our clients for several reasons, including our: industry expertise, insight into the future through the best ecosystem partnerships and large-scale system integration expertise to bring XR at scale. Additionally, our ability to bring domain expertise in artificial intelligence, internet of things, cloud and blockchain technologies to harness the combined effects in XR solutions and our global content creation practice drives our leadership position.

What do you expect will be the most transformative application of XR on business?

[MCB] The impact of XR on business will be profound, from skill transfer to collaborative working capabilities; it will help re-invent our learning platforms.

We are already using XR as a day-to-day reality in gaming experiences, thanks to IT consumerization. In a few years, we will see XR experiences spreading within the enterprise. A new generation of XR devices will soon be available that will have a longer battery life, and be intrinsically safe and lighter to wear all day long. When they hit the market, those devices will be ideal to implement new XR use cases in industrial environments such as plants and factories.

What types of skills are needed for a career working with XR technology?

[MCB] In XR, we are building new worlds. We need people with a combination designer and tech mind, who have the creativity to dream these worlds up. We need people with event-based processing skills. Platforms are available to get hands-on experience; download them, start experimenting and doing the simulations to build your skills.

Learn more about the trends shaping the future of technology, business and the way we work in our 2018 Technology Vision report.

Ready to invent your future reality with a career at Accenture?

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