XR for the enterprise – Accenture and Qualcomm debut hospitality offering
IHG piloting XR Event Planner for sales enablement, remote collaboration
We’ve all attended corporate events hosted in hotel meeting rooms but perhaps we overlook the hotel staff, event planners and third-party vendors that worked for months on selecting lighting, tablecloths, room layouts and so forth. It’s a complicated process that requires extensive back-and-forth and collaboration. And with the launch of its XR Event Planner solution, Accenture is looking to give the hospitality sector a new way to accelerate event sales while streamlining the process that results in an event.
Raffaella Camera, global head of innovation and market strategy for Accenture’s XR practice, gave the example of corporate event planners, one based in London, the other based in Singapore, working to put together an event in Los Angeles.
“What we are doing with our solution is we are allowing these people to be immersed in the room,” Camera told Enterprise IoT Insights. “Walls, carpet, lighting–they can change it. They can do all of this with anyone else across the world and they can use whatever device they want. You can have a virtual meeting. Together they can see the room and modify it and agree on what might be good for them.”
To get an idea of how XR Event Planner works, watch this video from Accenture.
Camera said the current focus is moving the pilot from the InterContinental in downtown Los Angeles to other IHG properties and then onto the broader hospitality market.
IHG Senior Vice President, Global Hotel and Owner Solutions, Jeff Edwards said in a statement, “This tool equips hotels, such as the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, to close event sales even faster and increase productivity, while simultaneously helping clients experience event spaces without having to travel, in a new, dynamic way that brings the event to life during the planning process.”
Accenture reckons the meeting and events industry is worth around $330 billion per year in just the U.S. The primary pain points include a slow sales cycle that creates opportunities for drop-offs and also correlates to increase in expenses related to things like travel and staff hours.
This is just one of the ways Accenture is using XR solutions to create value for their customers. Other solution sets fall into categories like connected field workers, immersive learning, VR merchandising and creating an XR-enabled customer journey. “We believe that the traditional digital consumer journey that goes from web to mobile needs to be extended,” Camera said, “so consumers can be immersed in a situation, manipulate a product and collaborate.”
On the connected worker point, this is particular relevant to field services for a number of reasons, chief among them a decline in the availability of highly-experience specialists.
“We’re seeing a lot of requests when it comes to connected worker,” Camera said. “For example, helping workers in the field figure out what’s the next step they have to make in a process or see remote support.” She called out aerospace, oil and gas and manufacturing as verticals looking for this type of XR-based remote support.
Discussing the role of XR in prompting a shift away from specialization, Camera said the overriding goal is efficiency. She gave the example of maintenance in a nuclear power plant; XR could make it so one worker has to physically go to a location in the plant for repairs rather than two workers. “It reduces the cost and improves safety. It’s a way of reproducing environments that can be too far away to reach or potentially dangerous. I think overall it will make them more efficient, it will make them go faster.”
Qualcomm’s Hugo Swart, head of XR, discussed the broader workforce implications of XR in an interview during the company’s Snapdragon Technology Summit last month in Maui.
XR Event Planner can used on mobile phones and tablets as well as on head-worn devices like the Nreal AR glass and HTC Vive Focus Plus VR, which both use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform. Qualcomm’s Brian Vogelsang, senior director of product management, said, “We believe XR has the potential to revolutionize the enterprise and we’re proud to work with Accenture and [IHG] to bring the benefits of immersive computing to the event planning industry.”