Accenture, the Official Technology Partner of the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship, has developed a VR experience to demonstrate the potential of the technology for rugby fans, and potential applications outside of game-playing.
The proof of concept, built by Accenture on a beta virtual reality headset and development kit, allows users to fully immerse themselves in the rugby environment, by placing existing reality into virtual reality. Using scanned images of real sports venues, fans start by travelling to a locker room, where they can explore the environment and interact with what they find before heading through the player tunnel. At the top of the stairs, users find themselves in the middle of a virtual stadium, where they will be greeted by Rugby World Cup winner Ben Kay, who is part of the Accenture analysis team for the 2016 Championship.
Acting as a virtual guide throughout the stadium experience, Kay will provide analysis of footage of RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship games that appear on a big screen inside the demo. Kay will appear alongside visualisations created from analysed game data, used to help make patterns and trends easier for participants to understand.
The concept of using visualisations in a virtual reality environment could also be transferred into the enterprise to support a range of activities, from internal operations and training, to customer experiences.
“Virtual reality is an amazing experience, and it’s one that a wide variety of industries could explore to create new and exciting opportunities,” said Nick Millman, managing director, Big Data and Analytics Delivery Lead for Europe, Africa and Latin America at Accenture. “We spend significant time at Accenture experimenting and innovating with new, developing and upcoming technologies to understand the business benefits they could offer to our clients. This proof of concept was a chance to look not only at new ways for rugby fans to experience the game, but also to investigate how data and insight from analytics could be presented using virtual reality.”
“In this proof of concept, we used analytics and overlaid visualisations of the insights onto a virtual reality environment,” Millman continued. “This application could provide some interesting potential uses for businesses; for example, we could create realistic training scenarios for hazardous work environments, test customer experience in a number of disparate locations, or explore and detect patterns in big data using 3D imagery.”
Many businesses today are collecting data at a rapid rate, but value can only be achieved from that data when it has been processed, understood and, ultimately, acted upon. Analytics and visualisation technologies enable interactive dashboards, empowering business decision makers to make sense of raw data, gathering fact-based insight to operate a data-driven organization. By combining these powerful tools with virtual reality, enterprises can create tailored solutions to help with decision making in any number of scenarios.
“Seeing myself inside a virtual stadium standing next to an enormous image of rugby stats was quite something,” said Ben Kay, Rugby World Cup winner and member of the Accenture analysis team for the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship. “This technology is so new that it’s incredible to think we’re probably just scratching the surface of how we can change the way fans experience rugby. By offering not just the footage of a game but so much additional information on top of it, fans are going to be able to see beyond each individual sequence of action or a player’s performance over the course of a game. That kind of engagement hasn’t been possible before, and it’s exciting to think that through virtual reality, fans could literally be right in the middle of it.”