News: Fans will be greeted by Ben Kay in the middle of a virtual stadium.
Accenture has developed a virtual reality proof of concept, which includes a beta virtual reality headset and development kit, to allow fans of the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship to enjoy the game in an immersive way.
The VR solution will transport fans from their homes to the middle of a virtual stadium, where they will then be greeted by Rugby World Cup winner Ben Kay. Kay then analyses and talks the user through footage of RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship games, which are played on a big screen inside the virtual stadium.
Kay will provide match analysis using game data, helping fans to draw patterns and trends.
The VR solution will also use scanned images of real sports venues allowing fans to enter into various changing rooms. Fans will be able to experience the environment inside the locker room and interact with the environment before entering into the stadium through the player tunnel.
Accenture Big Data managing director and Analytics Delivery lead for EMEA, Nick Millman said: "In this proof of concept, we used analytics and overlaid visualisations of the insights onto a virtual reality environment."
"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."
Millman added: "Virtual reality is an amazing experience, and it’s one that a wide variety of industries could explore to create new and exciting opportunities."
"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."
Rugby World Cup winner and member of the Accenture analysis team for the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship Ben Kay said:
"Seeing myself inside a virtual stadium standing next to an enormous image of rugby stats was quite something.
"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."
RBS 6 Nations has chosen Accenture as the official technology partner for the fifth consecutive time.
The official RBS 6 Nations mobile app also uses Accenture’s in-house data expertise and analytics tools to bolster match analysis and offer deeper insight.
Accenture has also developed a new Apple Watch application for 2016 Championship to improve fan experience.