Accenture, the 60,000 helmets and the metaverse

Don’t try to cut a meeting with Marc Carrel-Billiard in the metaverse. Don’t try to force Accenture’s director of innovation, at the head of a team the size of which is considered a company secret, to speak French worthy of the French Academy. In the rapidly changing world, those who have lived in the United States for a long time are hybrids: one foot in reality, one foot in the metaverse, one foot in the United States, one foot in Europe, one foot in French, a foot in English. And most of all, passionate.

Metaverse, a buzz word alone?

Marc Carrel-Billiard. – “It can’t be broken. The metaverse is here and it’s evolving. There’s been a lot of buzz around it, but it’s been around for a while.

I still have a Second Life account …

“Exactly! We’ve been working on it for 15 years, but we don’t have all the ingredients we need.

What are we missing?

“Bandwidth is not good, ‘devices’ are not the same and not yet unique. There is an evolution of devices.

Goggles? Smartphones?

“It can be multi-device. The experience is in augmented reality on the smartphone, there is a mix of realities and hybrid devices to make it virtual reality. A worker working in a mine or refinery. She wants to do immersive learning. We will put on a virtual reality helmet and he will learn to work in the mine or at the refinery. Afterwards, once he understands everything, we will parachute him to the platform where he has more glasses, where he will identify the environment in which he is training with more information.

This is a tool. But which do you believe and which do you not believe?

“There are so many of them! Customer driven or business driven. The latter is all about ‘work’ in the future, ‘immersive learning’, and more often ‘digital twins’. What intrigued me was to see how I could control a factory remotely using digital twin. I’ll wear a virtual reality helmet, I’ll be immersed in the factory, I’ll face a twin machine with levers and buttons. There is the watch and the activation of the machine. If it smells burnt and it breaks, I have to smell it. The engine itself will be connected to the real engine and we will drive away. We work in telecommuting and this will be the foundation of the company in the future.

The second important thing is ‘scenario-planning’, using modeling of complex systems. To get another refinery, I will create scenarios. That, broken, I was missing it, what happened? and so on. It allowed me to optimize my environment and upload everything to the real machine, as it was programmed for all scenarios.

From industry 4.0. Not from the metaverse like this buzz word …

“I think the business side is more important to us. More than any consumer side, entertainment. Not everyone can see the Eiffel Tower. Instead of clicking on photos or a website, people wear those glasses and take a walk to see what it looks like.It can be great for merchandising.Or trying out new stores.We work at Procter & Gamble on planography.You are in a store and you want to know what to sell.The best thing is to put these products on the head of the gondola.You have a map of the product.It allows you to decide what you will wear or not.Now, to try it on, send we’re the people to put the products on and we’ll see what happens.Tomorrow, we’ll do that in the metaverse.

I hear you use the metaverse to welcome your new recruits. In Luxembourg, we saw the Big Four immortalize the arrival of hundreds of “new partners” …

“Yeah! I feel like I’m at fault! For a long time, I’ve digitized our seven labs in the world. I’ve told myself that it’s not always normal to have to take a plane to go somewhere else and that if the a client can see a lab, he can’t see the second, third or fourth.How to view four or five labs in a day? Why not digitize the labs? With a 3D scanner.Finally, we can do demos, we take our customers there and they visit.We have more visits during the pandemic than ever before in our labs.During the pandemic, we recruit 150,000 people. How do we ‘ride’ them? They usually go to the Q-Center in Chicago, which is a class in our academy.We explain to them what Accenture is.We think we’re going to create a One Accenture Park.People come. .We have seniors who share my understanding on nila. They have trials, all things. And that’s what we did. 60,000 helmets. It’s one of the biggest VR projects in a company.

I was just out of business school, what happened?

“Received a helmet at home. At the price of the headset, it is cheaper than the laptop… There is a first step with someone explaining how you use it, the joysticks, the approach… and there are sessions of different classes, learning or entertainment, where we celebrate. We also hold meetings with clients. Even our CEO, Julie Sweet, uses this technology.

But human interactions… You know these interactions are marked by common opposites of teleworking, what do you do about it?

“It’s still very important! The corporate culture is very strong here. A face-to-face culture, of people working together with each other. It’s like Accenture’s secret sauce. We’re not going to lose it. You have to give. and power people and many of us are pushed into the ‘responsible metaverse’.We have someone dedicated to this issue who reports directly to the CEO.They are told not to expect everything from the metaverse.We invite people to go back to the office, at least partially.People themselves are seekers.I have so many Teams meetings, depressed!

What does this manager care about?

“How inclusive! Everyone has access to it. That it is ‘safe’.

Safe, what does that mean in the metaverse?

“Maybe there are insults, people attacking you. Even in the metaverse there are people who are affected by it and you have to respond. This idea must also be managed anonymously. Companies need to explain who they are, what their visions are, what their responsibilities are. We also work at Goodwill, with the Association for Inclusivity, with the World Economic Forum on issues of governance, standardization, policy. XR Association and XR For All. We are 710,000 people at Accenture and we need to lay the right foundation.

Among the challenges, I think that the advent of a self-sovereign identity that belongs to every European is changing the ecosystem of the metaverse, isn’t it? Where this is possible when you are on a runt to get a very muscular avatar …

“Yes, but in the real world, we all have passports, identity cards. There are people who cheat. There are people who cheat in the metaverse. This is the law of many numbers.

Interoperability is also a challenge, with more than 200 metaverses…

“265! There is a gathering. It’s hard to say how many. Is there a Chinese metaverse, an American metaverse and a European metaverse? Mystery. But we had no choice. It’s so frustrating to buy an ‘asset’ in a metaverse, say a sword, and it can’t be taken anywhere! Many games can be transferred to multiple metaverse.

So, do you understand that companies, like Gucci, are starting a metaverse, at risk, right now, that their assets won’t be able to operate there?

“They don’t want to wait-and-see, but try and see how to take advantage of it. We go back to the 1990s, when people created their own web page, their own site …

What do you recommend companies?

“Two things. We need to work on two use cases that are less risky and that allow employees and employers to understand the interests of the metaverse. The ‘workplace of the future’. How can we expand your workplace, have a little more innovative Zoom with a little metaverse or a Team with eyes or things like that.And see how employees feel about it.Before working on the real ones discussion of the metaverse versus the face-to-face area, the different devices.The second thing is immersive learning, to practice through the metaverse.Staying better, understanding too.Many people do learn the trades.We have a big company we work with to repair electric poles and even the elderly immediately adopt the trick.But there are always people who don’t support it.

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