Last year, Deloitte’s technology allowed golf fans to browse three historic holes right in their homes with XR technology; this year, they recreated the entire 18 holes of the U.S. Open. Alan chats with Allan Cook & Kaitlyn Kuczer who drive home how immersive tech is the next technological leap forward.
Alan: Welcome back to the XR for Business podcast, it’s Alan Smithson, your host today. And today we have two very special guests: Kaitlyn Kuczer and Allan Cook from Deloitte’s Digital Reality practice. They’re working with clients to develop and implement their strategies, pilots, and technology solutions in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, 360, spatial, and immersive; all known as XR. We’re going to dive into an incredible project, the US Golf Association using augmented reality to bring a live golf tournament to your living room in full 3D. In addition, we’re going to be discussing the multimillion dollar XR practice at Deloitte and how they’re serving the needs of customers around the world. All that and more coming up next, on the XR for Business podcast.
Allan and Kaitlyn, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us.
Allan: Good morning.
Alan: Good morning. Where are you guys calling in from now?
Kaitlyn: We are coming in from Denver, Colorado.
Alan: Amazing. And so let me ask you a quick question. How did you both get into XR, and what was the spark that you saw? And then we’ll talk about the Deloitte practice and how that’s evolved over the last little bit. And then I want to really dive into this amazing experience you guys made at the USGA. So perhaps, Kaitlyn and Allan, tell us how you kind of got into this, and what was the specific factor to get into XR within Deloitte?
Allan: So I’ll jump in here. Kaitlyn and I have been working in what we call digital reality — it’s all things: AR, VR, spatial, immersive, and nowadays 3D — for about four years. Originally, Deloitte was looking at that next generation of exponential technologies, to look at where we think our next generation of consulting revenues, consulting technologies are going to be coming from. Within that, we’d started off a kind of a deep dive analysis of the marketplace and quickly realized that there was really a huge potential for not only ourselves, but for many technology firms, many consulting firms. Since then, we’ve grown to between 70 and 100 dedicated staff now within the US. We are working with a huge variety of clients. Our main focus tends to be in four broad areas. Firstly doing a lot of strategy work with clients, so helping them to figure out where to play, how to win, where they should be experimenting in this area, but also where they should be implementing projects and helping them to realize significant returns. We’re doing a lot of work in immersive learning. I like to say, if it’s too dangerous, too difficult, or too expensive to do the training in the real world, why wouldn’t you do it in a virtual world? The next big area we’re focusing on is really that frontline work, field service engineers, see-what-I-see, do-what-I-do, digital twins. And then finally what we call digital reality experiences. So this is a lot more consumer facing, whether that’s retail type events or — like you mentioned in the intro — the work that we did with the US Golf Association on the US Open over the last few years.
Alan: So there’s a pretty wide swath or pretty wide spectrum here. You’ve got consumer facing application — bringing the USGA into your living room — but then you’ve also got companies that are manufacturing products that want to see maybe a digital twin of a factory, or even support systems where you can point your phone at a manufacturing machine and have somebody remotely support you on this. There’s really wide range here. And I want to unpack some of these for customers, but I just want to touch on the strategy side of things before we get moving forward, because I think that is– at the heart of the strength of Deloitte is the fact that you guys are an incredible purveyor of knowledge in the strategy sphere. So when you’re meeting with customers, what is the typical cadence around– you meet with them, and you listen to some of the challenges that they have. Are there some things that drive to the top quickly of the conversation? What is the fastest path to value? If somebody was a new company and you were meeting with them, what is typically bubbles to the surface before anything else?
Allan: I’m going to give that horrible consulting word: It depends. It really, really does earn this case, it’s like all firms are so different and so varied in what they do. So, too, are the very nature of what they need from VR, AR, and the like. Some of the projects that Kaitlyn and I have been working with on the more sell-to side, helping firms who have digital reality products really figure out which markets they should be focusing on. So whether that’s a geographic perspective or an industry perspective, but really helping them to zero in on how they can make the most money, where they can make the most impact. On the client side, it tends to be where they can realize the biggest benefit. And that’s not just necessarily financial. I mean, with the whole COVID-19 thing, Kaitlyn’s leading a fairly large initiative around how we can collaborate and cooperate better. I think everybody is a little Zoom fatigued at this point. So how can we be using some of these immersive technologies and immersive solutions to really have a more immersive experience? I mean, start– Zoom is fantastic for what it is, but we just are all craving more of that social contact, more of that human contact. A lot of work around supplies for accounting and tax companies, a lot of work around how can we help companies realize the maximum benefit? What should their return on investment look like? How much money should they be spending? But I think the biggest thrill for us is three, four years ago, a lot of these strategy engagements were kind of standalone and didn’t go anywhere. What we’re finding now is that they really are rapidly moving out of the strategy phase into not just, “Hey, can we build a proof of concept?” but to really look at how can we turn our business around using VR immersive technologies.
Alan: That’s incredible. So we’re finally getting past pilot purgatory.
Kaitlyn: Yeah, exactly. And one thing I do want to also add that’s really interesting, popping up from a strategy perspective is –and this is cross-industry interest — is the strategy behind ethics, privacy, intellectual property rights, and how to proactively integrate that into these solutions. So that whether that be the end user as your employee, your customers are all protected ahead of time. So people are kind of learning from that social media mobile app development kind of phase, and starting to apply those learnings to this new technology of visualization and ensuring that all those are proactively integrated into these solutions.
Alan: That is very, very vital to the success of this long term, because as we’ve seen in the social media, the unintended consequences can be devastating. And I think being able to track where people are looking, being able to track their head motion, their gait analysis, there’s so many more data points that we’re able to collect about somebody using these technologies. It’s definitely important that we make sure that we at least address and then try to address in advance the potential risks and harm that we could be doing with these, because there’s a lot of great good we can do, but there’s also harm. So I’m glad you guys are thinking about that as well. So I have a quick question on the collaboration. Kaitlynn, have you seen xrcollaboration.com yet?
Kaitlyn: I have not.
Alan: Oh, you’re going to love that.
Kaitlyn: I will check it out.
Alan: It’s a global directory and guide to XR collaboration platforms.
Kaitlyn: Fantastic. Now, I’ve been talking to a few experts in the field, and it’s such an interesting space of so many things that you have to think about when you start getting mass number of people into a virtual location, and everyone’s designing their avatars and the kind of experiences that they can have. So I’ll definitely have to look into that.
Alan: Yeah, we put together a– I think it’s about an 80 page manual now on everything from security to avatars to everything. It’s all in there.
Alan: So, yeah, take a look. And yes. So next thing in here, you talked about immersive learning. This is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I don’t know if you know, but my personal purpose in life is to inspire and educate future leaders to think and act in an economic, social, and environmentally sustainable way. And so I believe that the immersive learning capabilities of this technology. And you nailed it; when things are expensive or they’re impossible. These are really technologies that can lift us out of this kind of problem that we’ve developed in that there’s a massive turnover of employees happening daily. The nature of work is changing dramatically and quickly. And so how do we upskill and reskill and maintain reasonable employment for people without having to reinvent the wheel here? What are you guys seeing in the kind of learning/training space?
Allan: So I’ll jump in first, but then, Kaitlyn, please, please add to this. Obviously, there’s a lot of use cases around safety type training, as I mentioned. If it’s really too dangerous to do that training in the real world, why wouldn’t you create it in a virtual world? So we’ve been working with a lot of oil and gas companies, power and utility companies, which– you really do need to create that sense of fear. You really do need to immerse them in the experience, so that it’s not just a computer based training with lots of pretty pictures and lots and lots of words, but it really does hit home. We’ve found and we’ve seen studies which show that classic CDTs computer based training you’ve attention level is in the low teens. And immersive training experience puts your attention 80-85 percent or more. And so if it really matters, which so often is the case in safety — I mean, it’s not only mattering because of potential revenue impacts, but because of genuine life impacts — that retention is absolutely critical. So we’re working with one of the large power utility companies on the East Coast right now around them maintaining very high voltage equipment. I mean, and if you do this wrong, you get blasted 20 feet across the room and your next of kin gets notified.
Alan: So are you putting together like a haptics suits for these people, so that if they make a mistake in training, they get a massive shock through the whole body?
Allan: I love that–
Alan: Or haptic gloves?
Allan: –kind of experience. You know, you get a nasty zap. We’re not. I mean, at this point, it’s still really visual-audio type feedback. We have been playing a little bit with some of the haptic gloves and the like. We did create some retail immersive experiences with very large immersive walls, which is really not only a sight and sound experience, but a sensory experience. So we have heat, we have fans, we have smells being pumped in to create that illusion of a more immersive experience. We haven’t quite got to that Ready Player One like haptics suit type of thing.
Kaitlyn: [chuckles] Waiting for it.
Alan: I got to try the HaptX gloves. And I actually– there was a point where they asked me to to reach out and grab something. And it literally shocked me. And I mean, it was just a buzz on my fingers. But because I was looking at the thing and it all worked, my brain was completely immersed in it. I literally jumped back a foot and they had to grab me, because it scared the crap out of me. So if anybody wants to really fully understand quickly the power of this, take your Oculus Quest, load up Richie’s Plank, and walk somebody across a piece of wood and then just give them a little push when they’re halfway across. Just give em a little nudge and you’ll see people freak out. And you know, they know it’s not real. They know there’s not a real plank, there’s no drop. But your brain just cannot figure it out.
Kaitlyn: My other one that’s really interesting on that that front, Alan, is the Everest experience, I believe it’s with Vive. And when you’re climbing up Mount Everest on an ice wall and someone’s backpack falls off and it comes to everyone dodges the backpack.
Kaitlyn: And starts– palms start sweating a little bit [chuckles] and everyone is stationary on the ground, safe at home, not in subzero temperatures.
Alan: I walked across the little ladder and it freaked me out, because the ladders creaking, and you’re like “Ahh!” One of the things that I think is going to be an interesting combination is this– is– now that Apple watches and kind of smartwatches are really prevalent, being able to tie these experiences into capturing the biometric data as well, because there’s almost the ability for us to drive people’s heart rate up artificially. And maybe there’s kind of a sweet spot of, “OK, if your heart rate is above 85, we know that you are viscerally understanding.” I don’t know what that number is, I’m just making that number up. But this is something interesting that I think will be a long term study for these efficiencies, and how can we make things even more immersive? I’ll be really interested to see what you guys are doing with smell. That one is probably one of the most powerful experiences. And yet nobody’s deploying it right now or very few.
Kaitlyn: It’s a really challenging one to deploy, especially on mobile, as Alan was mentioning, that was actually an immersive wall, and unfortunately, with the US Open Championship, we actually had an experience planned, where it was that immersive wall. And as you’re walking through the historic shots of Wingfoot, you could actually smell the grass. There was one championship where everyone is just battling it out during a very hot moment, it’s very hot outside, so we had heaters that were going to be running at that time. And so where you can bring that full immersive experience to people on site. Of course, with COVID-19 that presents its own challenges. And so we had to pull back on that one. But it’s definitely a part of the possible.
Alan: Really amazing. We actually pitched to Korona the ability to have this heater, exact same thing, heater, but we were going to pump coconut smell in.
Kaitlyn: Oh, yes. [laughs]
Alan: I want to– you mentioned the USGA and I want to dive into this quickly, because really it’s kind of like a better experience for you guys. And I had it on my living room table or my kitchen table when you first launched that, I was watching the shots real time. What was the precipice of this like? How did that come about, and what were some of the challenges involved in kind of getting that out to the world?
Allan: So we have the light of a long term relationship with the US Golf Association. And really three years ago in 2018 when we were at Shinnecock, we first created an immersive experience. We actually allowed you to do a virtual tour of the clubhouse. And you had the course historian talking about various aspects of this very historic course and some of the clubs and different things that you can kind of get that experience. Most of us will never have that opportunity to [go] the clubhouse. But we also allowed you to do a tour with Corey Pavin winning 18th hole back in the 1990s. You were with him in the tee box. You were with him as he ran up to the green, arms in the air. And again, it just gave you that sense of actually what it would be like to be on the 18th hole during the US Open. Last year, we went to Pebble Beach and for the first time, we created the AR experience and part of this was technology had moved on and enabled us to really take advantage of some of the developments in people’s smartphones. And at the time, we did just three holes — holes 6, 7 and 18 — and created three different experiences on those holes. So one was again, you could watch the players playing live. You could pick your player and see how they had played any of the holes previously, and actually match them up in your own little fantasy pairing to see how they would have played against another player. And then finally, we did the historic shots, so you could actually see how the previous four winners, how they had played those particular holes as well. And we had over 40,000 downloads, which we were thrilled about. I mean, we honestly went into the event just having no idea. I think, genuinely so, if we had a couple of thousand, we would have declared victory. And so when we were at tens of thousands, I mean, we were top 20, top 10 downloads on the weekend on the various sports websites, app websites. So we were just truly, truly thrilled. Kaitlyn, do you want to kind of kick off and talk about what we did this year, 2020, up at Winged Foot in New York? Because it was just such a dramatically different year. And COVID was both a blessing and a curse for us. So Kaitlyn, do want to talk about it a little bit?
Kaitlyn: Yeah. I mean, to Allan’s point: COVID-19, the curse was we all had to work remotely, as well as there weren’t fans allowed on the US Golf Association, the championship site. We were trying to tackle that problem in addition to was this even going to happen? The exciting piece was if we could just get players playing and the championship could continue and we can get the data that’s from those player shots, we could actually create the experience for fans at their home in 3D away, which is what we were able to do and we were able to deliver that virtual experience. So that itself was exciting. The interesting piece about having over– almost having double the number of people downloading the app. Last year, most of the app downloads actually came from the on-site activation. So the people on-site who went around, downloaded the app as they were just watching the championship. This year, we had all of our downloads remotely and virtually. So that was a different [experience] and what we were able to accomplish, as far as the app itself, we continued with the technology. So technology once again had improved. So instead of having this image that we had in 2019, that people had to download and print out, and then download an app, and then get recognition from the app would be what [hobbled] the 3D AR experience. This year we leveraged surface recognition and that wasn’t really available in a stable format last year. So this year is really exciting to be able to leverage that. It just enabled more equity in the system, where you didn’t have to have a printer. You could just pull it up on your app, and point it at any surface that– especially the ones that had texture. We’ll talk about some of the challenges to that in a little bit.
Alan: Yeah, don’t point it at a white, shiny marble floor. [laughs]
Kaitlyn: I know. [laughs] You know– OK, we’ll talk about the challenge right now. The single feedback from users was the challenge of service recognition, and most likely it’s either because they were pointing at a monochromatic surface or to surface that’s shiny. Totally get it.
Alan: Kaitlyn, I can say this is being solved very quickly. The new iPad Pro, the new iPhone 12, all the Samsung phones, they all have LiDAR scanning. And LiDAR — as long as the surface isn’t super shiny — should get rid of that problem of having a monochromatic floor. So very exciting.
Kaitlyn: And that’s what we’re excited about, is each year this technology gets better and better, which means this app is going to get better and better. Furthering on to the 2019 app, where we only had three holes that we built the 3D models for, this year we built out all 18 holes. We had over double downloads available. I think it’s important to highlight from our marketing perspective– which I don’t think enough credit goes to the marketers, but that’s really how you get your product out, how you get concepts, ideas out to the public. We saw some really incredible statistics. So our engagement rate over the last couple years just leveraging these applications. So engagement rate meaning people that go on to our websites, and start clicking around and reading. It has gone up double the amount over the last couple of years. Web traffic to our sites increased over six times. Our paid media activations, those had over 100 percent growth. And then the really interesting one this year was what was called conversion of offline to online marketing. And effectively what that was, is we had some commercials online and we also had throughout social and our different marketing activations, we had a QR code that people could scan. It would send it to our deloitte.com/USGA site where [you] would be prompted to download the app. While half the people that we had visiting our website had actually visited purely from that QR code, which means that at some point in the day when they saw the commercial come up, they got up, they took their phone, took a photo of the QR code, went to the website, and then furthermore, a third of those people actually went and downloaded the app from the website. So that kind of conversion and seeing that kind of interest was really exciting. It’s the best use that we have seen of having that offline to online marketing, because as I think you’re probably aware, Alan, like every time in the mobile app dev world, every time someone [clicks away], you start losing people. And the fact that we were actually retaining people really shows to the excitement of this use case.
Alan: It’s interesting you say that, because the whole thesis behind our product at MetaVRse is that we’re web based. So you don’t even need the app part. So it’s one less step.
Alan: So I totally relate with you on that. So beyond USGA, what have you’ve done now? So you’ve got all 18 holes, you were able to watch that. So I assume now that that’s built, it’s just shot data at that point now. So you’ve got this whole golf course and the golf course is not going to change, they’re not ripping up a golf course and changing it. So now you’ve got that, and that client can now use this multiple times. One of the things that– theories that we had — and maybe you guys are seeing this too, I’d love to ask you about it — is that as you kind of build experiences for one division of a company, let’s say, for example, a company comes and says, “We want training.” And you say, “OK, we’re going to build a 3D training, and it’s going to run on iPads, and you’re going to be able to train people on this machine.” Now, one of the theories we had is that once you build that, there’s an upfront cost to building these things and this is not inconsequential. But once you’ve built it, you could then take the exact same experience, change the verbiage, the wording, and make it into a marketing experience or change the verbiage and change it into a support experience. Are you finding that there’s this kind of land-and-expand with this type of solution?
Allan: So actually, I’ve got three examples that I can tell about that. Two weeks ago I was giving a presentation to a communications organization. They installed large communication devices on top of office buildings, retail stores, malls and the like. And one of the things which they had wanted is, 1), to create an immersive training experience; 2) some kind of field services experience and then potentially to allow some sort of user experience. So user actual self servicing the equipment. And one of the things we realized is once we had created the 3D object, a lot of the expense was now taken care of. You could go back to that 3D object repeatedly. The way that we actually wrote the pitch deck was to have the 3D object as the central thing. And then each one of the experiences circling around that. And you could just see that kind of creating some of these core assets, you get a terrific return on. We did a study for one of the retail organizations, and their detergent bottle. With photographs, something like 8,000 times a year worldwide, different Web advertisements, different catalog examples, et cetera, et cetera. If you create that one asset in 3D, you can absolutely use that repeatedly. And there’s a very large, inexpensive but high quality furniture store that about 50 to 70 percent of all of the things you see in their catalog are actually digital renderings of the equipment, including–.
Alan: I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s IKEA, because [chuckles] I’ve had IKEA on the show, Martin [Enthed] from IKEA’s visualization team. I don’t know if that’s the right when you’re talking about, but they– 70 percent of their catalog is all CG.
Allan: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, I mean, again, it’s just people don’t realize, and when you showed pictures of the real object VS the digital object, you just can’t tell. I mean–.
Alan: No, you can’t.
Allan: It’s nearly identical. But we’re also working with a number of automotive companies, which you take that automobile, the design specs in R&D. It then gets passed, its design gets passed through the manufacturing, gets passed through to the marketing team, it gets passed through to — eventually — to the dealer. You are keeping that original design true to what it was meant to be. It doesn’t get changed each time. It’s a bit like the game of whispers, where one person whispers into one one person’s ear and it starts off with “Send reinforcements, were going to advance,” and ends up with “Spend three and fourpence, we’re going to a dance.” That original message completely gets lost over the kind of little changes that get added each time and get magnified. And again, it’s a terrific savings of money, because you already have that 3D asset that you can then pull and just use in the marketing side. So, no, completely, totally agree with you there. Some of the visualisations things you just associated with this aren’t necessarily just how to save the most money, but creating the 3D photorealistic designs and imagery can just be used throughout the process to save a ton of money.
Kaitlyn: And expanding on the whole content pipeline. There is an entire frame of thought behind that is OK, once you do create these 3D assets over time, of course, you’re probably going to want to add to that repository. And so how do you start adding quality assurance and ensuring that it passes [through] so that you don’t have random employees just throwing throwing 3D assets into this pipeline that’s leveraged? How can you get ahead on the organization of that, so that you can really streamline those those efficiencies?
Alan: How *do* you do that? Because I identified this two years ago as a massive problem. We were doing a WebAR project for Shoppers Drug Mart, it’s like a pharmaceutical company here. And we ran into this problem where we built all the assets and we sent them to the client. The client was an agency, so we send them to the agency. The agency then sent them to the client. The client then sent them to the brands and all three levels needed approval. And so how do you send somebody a 3D asset for approval? And just there was no way. So we were like taking photographs, still shots, sending it. They were marking it up. It was really, really not a very fun experience when you have three levels of approvals for every asset and there was countless assets. So how are you dealing with that now? Are you integrating into current CMS systems? Are you building new solutions? I know TurboSquid’s got something they’re working on, with their part of there, and CGTrader as well. They’re working on asset data management. So what are you doing to solve that?
Allan: We are beginning to look at how to best integrate not only with the CMS systems, but also your entire ERP system. Just some of the things that we’re doing, for instance, with field servicing is how can you integrate the actual work orders into the work that they’re doing, so that they’re not having to check what the next work order is, often in situations where they can’t use their hands, where they’re halfway up a pole, or they’re holding equipment, that type of thing, getting that kind of step by step instructions being brought down to them. So how do you integrate that into the larger ERP systems? We built some solutions for field services on top of one of the big ERP players last year and demonstrated it at one of the major events, on just how you can do the entire workflow calling up from your core systems today. I do think that we’re having to figure out new standards, particularly on the retail side, and we’re part of the Khronos [Group] standards organization, working with a whole host of different retailers and manufacturers on that space, is to try and figure out what are the new standards going to be, not only around the rendering and creation of the 3D objects, but the storage, the access, the metadata surrounding all of these, just to allow everyone to be able to access them in a quick, efficient, and timely manner.
Alan: Really wonderful if Apple stayed in there.
Allan: It would be fantastic if everybody would definitely sign up to one standard, I conclude.
Alan: Because right now we’ve got two bifurcated standards in the world. We’ve got USDZ and glTF, much like VHS and DVD[sic]. But I think, from what I’m seeing — and probably you guys are seeing the same — those are the two standards everybody is moving forward with. But because there really is no standard — and there won’t be unless Apple joins — how do you deal with the fact that there’s no standard, and you have to build two files for everything you do?
Allan: Well, to a certain extent, we’re used to that. I mean, a lot of our clients have got multiple backend systems that we have to be able to interface with. We try not to make a single stand. We will work with any of the ERP, CRM, CMC vendors, and we’ll adapt to their standards. Obviously, we have a preference. We have some of our folks who are a little bit more skilled in one particular area. I mean, there’s two major 3D development platforms out there at this point. I mean, I don’t necessarily think having just one is necessarily always the best, because having a little bit of competition in the marketplace, having unique points of view. However, I do think we’re going to have to move towards, if not one standard, at least integrating the two standards to allow rapid sharing of the backend files or else, like you said, we really are going to have to create twice as many assets effectively for the same job.
Alan: Would be amazing if there was a platform that automatically did that?
Allan: Would be very happy to do that for someone if they would like to pay for it.
Alan: Well, we’ve already built it, so we can talk about it after. [laughs] It’s already done.
Alan: So I want to talk about something that keeps coming up in conversations, and one of the things that we’ve identified at MetaVRse is that the wearables VS 2D screen. So let’s assume 2D screens are computers, tablets, smartphones. So there are seven billion devices out there that can do 3D, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet computer. There are far less wearables. What percentage of new projects that you are seeing or what percentage are using head-worn devices — glasses, VR, that sort of thing — versus tablets, computers, smartphones and the like?
Allan: It’s relatively small still. And I would say that the proof of concepts we’re doing are still experimenting in the area of head-mounted displays. A lot of the projects we’re rolling out, I’m going to put immersive learning to one side because I would say that those are obviously kind of VR headsets at this stage. But actually out in the real world, it still tends to be smartphones as the predominant — or tablets — mechanism. Part of that is, as you said, there’s billions out there already in the marketplace. So just an ease of adoption. I am excited about the announcements of smartglasses, AR glasses coming out next year. Things are going to be more affordable, more accessible, and people are just going to get used to the idea. I think the kind of the last year or two we’ve got used to the idea of being able to see things in 3D. The next couple of years are going to be we’re going to get used to having a smartglass and having it easy and, again, affordable. It’s going to start to really turn that page. I would say right now there are AR glasses or smartglasses in the marketplace which are very good at doing a singular job. Some of the monocular devices are being–
Alan: RealWear, that sort of thing.
Allan: Exactly, exactly. If you need that virtual 2D hands-free screen, RealWear, fantastic solution on that. If you’re in a warehouse having a monocular device, it’s got a see-what-I-see, barcode scanner. Again, perfect for the job. You want to take that and then try and do digital twin, it’s going to fail miserably. You want to take that and have some kind of social integration, where it’s doing facial recognition, calling up whatever database to give you a background on, it won’t work. But I think as we move forward, as for immersive learning, we are extensively using VR headsets for that and that technology continues to just get stronger and stronger. And obviously in gaming and in sports. I was reading something about the NBA this morning and how they’re really going to look at VR moving forward outside of the season, to see how they can take advantage of it, how they’re going to have fan involvement with their particular sport. And we’re working with some sports teams right now, which are really interested in how they can be using AR and VR. And I say VR brings the best of the in-stadium experience to your house, whereas AR brings the best in-home experience to the stadium. So when you’re in my house, I put a VR had set on, I get that immersive sense of being in the crowd, the excitement, just being in the game. Whereas when I’m at the game, being able to bring my phone — on in time, smartglasses — being able to see which player is which, being able to see the arc of the ball being thrown through the air. Or like what we did with the US Open Act, allowing you to choose the angle that you want to watch, and be able to see the game in a whole new way that you just wouldn’t be able to see.
Alan: Yeah, that’s what struck me about the golf AR experience you guys built was that I could pick the player, pick the hole, really choose my own adventure of what I wanted to see at the time. And I thought that was just super cool. I could even pair up players that weren’t on the same hole together and watch them like– It’s just– it’s consuming sports in a in a whole new way. And I think it’s wonderful, guys. And it’s interesting that Apple bought a company called NextVR and NextVR had secured contracts with NASCAR, and NHL, and NBA, NFL. So I think Apple’s in a really interesting position that they have access to all the sporting content that we want in VR glasses. And so I think we’ll see what Apple comes up with. One of the things that I like to say is that we’re going to go from phone to face in the next five years. So we’ll see.
Kaitlyn: [chuckles] I like that.
Alan: With this, is there anything else you want to share around, how people can reach out to you guys and reach out to the Deloitte team, learn more about XR and how you guys can deliver for them? What would you say to somebody if they’re interested, and how would they find you?
Allan: Well, you can reach us either directly through the Deloitte website, deloitte.com. Again, part of the excitement that we’re finding right now is there’s so many entry points to starting creating XR experiences, whether it’s doing a strategy engagement at the front end, trying out a PoC, or actually leaping directly into creating solutions for the workforce, whether that’s in heavy industries, retail industries, consumer facing industries. We’re seeing just new things, which are just popping all the time at this point. It genuinely is an exciting time to be in this industry.
Alan: I definitely agree. Kaitlyn?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, I would definitely say part of the excitement of having successes in this space is that anything that drives to an industry excitement is really what drives to improving the technology. And so we’re always excited to talk to anyone who says, “Hey, I have an idea,” because we’re always looking at new ideas. You never know what’s going to be that next thing. Like Pokémon Go, like who knew that that would be such a big idea that would go viral? You never know what kind of applications are going to be the next form of collaboration. And so we’re always looking not just what we can do today, but how we can work with clients, customers for tomorrow to really help drive to that next iteration of their business. So, as Alan said, reaching out through LinkedIn, connecting, getting to share all the ideas I think is paramount in this space, because there’s just so much to talk about. We’re not just converging technologies, but we’re also starting to converge more like the empathic side from a psychology sociological level into what we see every day. Once– to get to your point, once you get that device on your face, when you can see anything about the world around you, what does that look like? And so really attacking that from the left sided brain people to the right sided brain people and everything in between is, I think, one of the most important things that we can do in this industry right now.
Alan: Amazing. Which, Kaitlynn, you kind of led me into my final question of the day. And I’ll ask you first, Kaitlyn, what is one problem in the world that you want to see solved with XR technologies and why?
Kaitlyn: I want to see equity in education. I have actually initiative from a volunteer perspective to try to bring inexpensive headsets to underprivileged schools. Thinking about like the Google Cardboard, couple of dollars. What the funny thing is, globally, a lot of adults have smartphones despite living in any kind of situation. And so if you can start bringing the educational experience to kids that wouldn’t ordinarily have that access, I think we can start to really flatten out the access to what people know and really start tapping into talent that we never knew we had, from a global scale.
Alan: You should listen to a podcast recently, where they talked about the digital divide in the US and how the first thing we need to do, at least in the US and around the world, is get Internet access to everybody, because we’re talking about VR and AR in these kind of advanced technologies, when some people don’t even have Wi-Fi. So I’m with you there. Allan, back to you.
Allan: So I’m going to take a slightly different track. I mean, I believe that this is truly the next major transformation of how we use technology. I mean, the first giant shift from mainframes to PCs, and then PCs to the web, and then the web to mobile. I just see this as being that next major, massive shift. And so I’m just truly excited that this is going to be the next global transformation of how we interact using technology, how it enhances the way that we interact with each other, our access to information and the richness of the experience that we get from this. It’s really exciting to be at the beginning of one of these new solutions. But going back to something that Kaitlyn said midway through, we are both very, very committed to some of the ethics and some of the trust issue that also need to be thought about upfront. I wrote a white paper on this about a year ago. I got to present at the United Nations last summer for one of their exponential technology forums about this topic. We are actively working with leading companies in this space as they really think about responsible innovation and trying to anticipate just some of the more moral ethical challenges we’re going to have as we kind of move into this next iteration of a brave new technology world.
Alan: Allan, where can we find out? Can you can you send me a copy of that white paper?
Allan: Would be thrilled to and you can read it at the Deloitte website, but I can– I’ll definitely send you a copy of that.
Alan: That would be great. Actually, I’m in a book club right now. MetaVRse is part of the Creative Destruction Lab in Toronto, and we’re having a reading club on the ethics of technology and humanity. So it’s very timely. There’s so much to unpack in this. So I wanted to say thank you, Kaitlyn and Allan, for taking the time to be on the podcast and really share your knowledge. I’m looking forward to doing this interview again, let’s say, a year from now and learning where you guys have gone, because I believe that this is only just scratching the surface of what’s possible. So thank you very much.
Kaitlyn: Thank you.
Alan: And thank you, everyone, for listening. This has been the XR for Business podcast with your host, Alan Smithson. And don’t forget to subscribe and don’t forget the hit the alerts so they don’t miss any future episodes. If you want to read the transcripts instead of listening to it, you can do so at xrforbusiness.io. If you want to learn more about Deloitte and their practice, you can go to deloitte.com and you can search “Allan Cook” or “Kaitlyn Kuczer”. Thank you so much, guys, for this. It’s been a real honor to have you on the show.
Allan: Likewise. You’re welcome. Thank you.
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