New technologies like virtual, augmented and mixed reality are helping brands bring their products to consumers

At SXSW, Accenture Interactive demonstrates how brands like the NFL, GE, and Whole Foods and are using virtual, augmented, and mixed reality to connect their products with consumers.

At SXSW, several different extended reality demos line the Experience Cantina for Accenture Interactive @Micheladas. Rori Duboff, Head of Content Innovation and Extended Reality with Accenture Interactive gave TechRepublic's Teena Maddox a tour.

"Right behind me," Duboff told Maddox, "we have an augmented reality demo using mobile AR for Whole Foods, the brand 365 which gives potential shoppers easier and more customized access. We have a demo pilot for the NFL which helps coaches and players understand moves they need to make while training. We also have two demos for Mackevision, one that shows a Mercedes and a Ferrari, so high-end quality visuals in virtual reality. We have two fashion demos, behind the styles, a 360-video where you can have a fashion shoot, and through Gaze Based Interaction, buy what models are wearing. Additionally through Mackevision, we have a luxury retail showroom experience, where you can pick up high-end luxury items like a Louis Vuitton bag, or a pair of sneakers, all high quality and see those 'come to life' in virtual reality.

SEE: How Sephora is leveraging AR and AI to transform retail and help customers buy cosmetics (TechRepublic)

For Boeing we have a HoloLens experience that visualizes the plane right in front of you, which you can also see through the AR kit demo. Antenna is 3D holographics, an amazing visualization of faces, objects, cool, dynamic stuff which brands use now to show the power of 3D holographic imagery. There's extended reality, the end of distance, about the power and potential of this new technology to help businesses get closer to customers and to fulfill needs met by the tech. Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies connect people closer together to bring valuable information close. If someone is working, if they're in the field, they have contextual overlays of data through glasses.

There's also the ability to create closer distance to new experiences, to transport yourself to different countries, different environments, being able to attend live events from your own living room or home. It's a false notion these technologies create further isolation. They're actually bringing us closer together in some revolutionary new ways. We see businesses, particularly in areas like manufacturing, Boeing, GE, being able to use assisted reality glasses to help workers be more productive. It gives them directional guidance and data overlays so it's training them on the information they need, on the moment, on the spot, to get tasks and jobs done. We also see immersive training used. For example, rather than have athletes go in advance to South Korea, they can train in their own homes. It's bringing the Olympics to the athletes. For people who wanted to watch the Olympics, you could watch the Olympics live, bringing content that people care about closer to them.

SEE Job description: Virtual reality designer (Tech Pro Research)

Businesses could use technologies through dealerships, so Mercedes, Ferrari, two brands we have here, are trying to sell high-end luxury items and cars to potential consumers. Users can actually visualize, see those cars in their homes and don't necessarily need to go to the dealership. When those cars aren't manufactured yet, or they want to have advanced previews and showings, the dealerships could show those cars using virtual reality, without the physical car being there.

We're closing the gap of distance between customers and dealerships. As virtual reality technology evolves, multi-player or multi-participant experiences are going to be very key. We have here at the Cantina an experience called Arena, which allows multiple players to come together in one environment. That's going to also help transform how businesses operate and work together. The ability to be able to collaborate Nvidia's Holodeck, where people can design and build a car together in one space, the ability to tele-presence different employees into one environment to communicate, this goes way beyond Skype.

The idea is to have people work together, brainstorm together, collaborate together, design together in a single environment and space. We're closing the gap of distance between potential employees and businesses through remote expertise and guidance. You're seeing new tools and technologies that enable us to pull in holographs or virtual avatars or representations of individuals, in healthcare, or manufacturing where individuals appear to give expertise and guidance where otherwise, they might not be accessed."

Also see

Rori Duboff, Head of Content Innovation, Extended Reality, Accenture Interactive

Rori Duboff, Head of Content Innovation, Extended Reality, Accenture Interactive

Teena Maddox/TechRepublic

About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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