WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Technology is letting us bring people together in new ways to do new things, and this is a great example of forward thinking …
It’s almost two years since the global pandemic hit and unsurprisingly many people are missing “just accidentally” bumping into their colleagues in corridors and the breakrooms. You know, the way a chance conversation can solve that problem that’s been bugging you for days, or introduce you to someone who can change your whole career. Furthermore, the idea of getting together in a big group also seems a bit alien now, as well many people missing the ideation and energy that comes from those kinds of interactions.
Although remote working and virtual meetings like those on Microsoft Teams and Zoom have so far have helped keep industry wheels turning the feeling now is not so much “Beam me up, Scottie” as “I’ll go anywhere as long as it’s outside of my home office” right now. So, with that at the forefront of their minds one of the teams at Accenture have just announced that they’ve created a new Virtual Reality (VR) space where everyone can meet and accidentally bump into one another, and it’s called the “Nth Floor.”
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As the largest enterprise user of Microsoft Teams Accenture already makes use of the platforms versatility and scale, but there’s always room for virtual meetings and events that are more fun, collaborative, and interactive – as well as creating environments where spontaneity can flourish.
With more than half a million people worldwide, Accenture has embraced video communications and virtual events like the ones I’ve presented at for a while now, and as they transition more physical meetings to more virtual ones they’re now streaming over 4 milllion minutes of broadcast video a month and playing over 44,000 videos each month. And it’s this that apparently got them thinking about how they could experiment with a whole host of other “better” solutions.
Are you game? Visit the Nth Floor …
Firstly they created the Immersive Collaboration Platform (ICP) which is an extraordinary multi-user, cross-platform meeting solution, with public and private meeting rooms that allows them to showcase their expertise in the Extended Reality (XR) business, and it’s also a great place to co-create and prototype solutions for their clients.
Then, working closely with Microsoft and AltspaceVR they created the Nth Floor, a mixed reality experience that enables people to interact with each other in person, regardless of geographic separation. Whether using it to host a virtual coffee break, conduct training, or host important all hands meetings, the Nth floor is a versatile, customisable, and scalable solution for bringing a geographically distributed workforce together. In short, it’s a kind of prototype metaverse space that helps their staff “be there” without physically being there – even when they do all eventually return to the office.
The virtual space was initially built for an Accenture Nanolabs conference, which enabled leaders of geographically fragmented groups to collaborate and develop a more cohesive structure. Users, co-located with each other as a group, are able to collectively experience the space from a conference room or in an immersive environment like one of their amazing Igloo rooms. For a fully immersive experience, people can wear a VR headset and effectively teleport into the world. And there are plenty of ways they can present information, including playing videos, infusing slide decks, or overlaying themselves onto presentations through TouchCast Studio and TouchCast Pitch.
Accenture also extol their new solutions versatility – whether running an event to recruit students or onboard employees, showcasing new tech or hosting training or roadshows, the virtual environment can adapt to suit. One of their VR experts, for example, has been using the Nth Floor to host a virtual fireside chats every Tuesday for their staff, clients, and partners. He’s also involved third party experts in discussing topics like “challenges with virtual events,” and the “Future of broadcasting in VR” with lively Q&A session followed by professional networking so it seems to be working!