In brief

In brief

  • Accenture Strategy and Western Digital have collaborated on new research exploring specific use cases that illustrate the essential value of data.
  • Demand for attending in-person live entertainment and sporting events exceeds the supply of tickets fans can purchase. That gap is growing as fans of artists and sports become increasingly global.
  • With advancements in edge computing, a suite of new technologies will enable the next generation of remote viewership, helping to generate $63.5 billion in new revenue by 2030.

Edge processing brings the heart of the action to you

With brands and sports becoming increasingly global, the demand for new technologies that enhance the experience of connecting with live events presents a big opportunity. For example, while an average of only 53,592 people were able to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup in person in Rio de Janeiro, the global in-home audience reach amounted to more than 2.1 billion fans worldwide across 207 countries.

With advancements in edge computing, a suite of new technologies will enable the next generation of remote viewership, helping to generate $63.5 billion in new revenue by 2030.


In revenue will be generated by 2030 from next-generation remote viewing

Getting an “edge” over lack of tickets

What if there are alternatives to attending events live that aren’t subject to the practical issues of having only so many physical seats to go around or being able to present events in only so many cities? And what if these alternatives are so compelling that fans would find them close enough to the “real thing” to be worthy of their time and money? Such alternatives are now possible because of the massive strides made recently in edge processing technology.

When used in the context of live entertainment, edge processing creates powerful new ways to monitor and manage sensor-based devices—such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and holographic solutions that promise a fundamental change in the remote viewing experience.

Two scenarios illustrate the enticing potential of edge processing

Scenario 1 - At-home VR/AR: From couch to court side

One possible application is using consumer-grade, low-cost VR/AR head-mounted displays (HMDs) in the home, which is a nascent but growing market. Here’s how it would work: Fans at home don a VR headset and stream the concert, game, or show live, allowing them to have a fully immersive experience. Behind the scenes, edge computing technology helps produce a low-latency, real-time immersive experience for users by capturing their movement and interactions. Highly tailored advertisements are presented during the downtime moments of the live streaming.

Scenario 2 - Location-based solutions: Bringing the social aspect to remote fans

Another option would be to host live viewing events in physical locations for fans to gather and interact with each other. This could take the form of holographic projections of live events at big venues. Now-available edge computing technology can collect the real-time motions and sounds of players or performers from volumetric data and transmit the data in the form of holograms populated by voxels, which are pixels in a 3D space to other sites. The holographic visuals will look like the real players and performers—offering the perfect combination of social interactions and real-time live entertainment.

A second location-based option would be VR/AR “viewing parties” at smaller-scale venues such as movie theaters. Fans would wear higher-end VR devices—more sophisticated than the HMDs they have at home—to view the event.

What’s the value?

A combination of edge computing and VR/AR could enable promoters, artists, and sports teams to capture a large chunk of the billions of dollars of untapped revenue from fans who are willing to pay to experience live entertainment events but can’t. Not only that, they could significantly boost advertising revenue associated with their events: With millions of people strapped to a VR headset, brands can deliver highly targeted ads to an entirely new (and massive) audience.

Here’s how this new revenue potential breaks down:

  • At home viewership: $40.5 billion
  • Location-based participation: $22.9 billion

Bringing live, socially rich events to the world

To enable these edge computing-driven VR/AR solutions, investments will be required. Both in-home and location-based solutions will require investments in much more computing and storage firepower. Storage needs, for instance, could grow exponentially based on an estimated 21,000 petabytes of data being transmitted by VR devices in 2021 and as much as 136,500 petabytes by 2030. Furthermore, 5G infrastructure, 5G radios, and GPUs will need to be widely proliferated and drop considerably in cost in order for these edge-enabled technologies to be widely adopted. Still, for major, globally popular events, the revenue potential far outweighs the added costs.

About the Authors

David Tang​

Senior Vice President – Corporate Marketing, Western Digital​

Judy Fujii-Hwang​

Vice President – Corporate Brand and Thought Leadership, Western Digita​l

Kris Rangarajan

Senior Manager – Corporate Marketing and Social Media, Western Digital

Esther Colwill​

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy

Shobit Arora

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy

Alvaro Mendizabal​

Senior Consultant – Accenture Strategy

Alireza Safi

Senior Consultant – Accenture Strategy

Lincoln Lam

Consultant – Accenture Strategy

Fabio Jaime

Analyst – Accenture Strategy


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