Why Virtual Reality Could Be The Real 6 Nations Winner

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Accenture’s virtual reality app looks to put fans in the thick of the match

Thhis year’s 6 Nations rugby tournament is tipped to be the most immersive to date, with the launch of a new virtual reality (VR) app that looks to put fans right at the heart of the action.

Accenture will be showing off a VR service that uses images and data from around the various grounds used in the tournament, including an in-depth guide from English World Cup winner Ben Kay.

The company says that the app shows off the potential of using virtual reality in sport, particularly rugby, as it looks to make the game more appealing to more fans than ever.

Scrum down

virtual reality headsetMany of the world’s leading technology firms, including the likes of Apple and Google have invested in VR over the last few years, with recent estimates from Deloitte predicting that 2016 will be the first ‘billion dollar year’ for virtual reality. The firm predicts $700m will be spent on hardware such as Oculus Rift, and $300m splashed out on software.

In addition to this, 250 million headsets and 10 million copies of games are predicted to be sold this year, with HTC, Samsung and Sony are among the other manufacturers readying commercial VR headsets.

Built by Accenture on a beta virtual reality headset and development kit, the new app, which uses scanned images of real sports venues, is able to transport fans to a locker room, where they can explore the environment and interact with what they find before heading through the player tunnel.

Users will also given a tour by Kay, who is part of the Accenture analysis team for the 2016 Championship alongside leading figures of the company’s big data arm.

The app will also show Kay appear alongside visualisations created from analysed game data (pictured below), used to describe and explain game patterns and trends easier for users.


2015 Italy vs Wales Game TrackerAccenture is keen to promote the potential of using data visualisations in a virtual reality environment, as it says the technology could be applicable in a wide range of enterprise activities, from internal operations and training to customer experiences.

“Virtual reality is an amazing experience, and it’s one that a wide variety of industries could explore to create new and exciting opportunities,” said Accenture’s Nick Millman. “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.”

“In this proof of concept, we used analytics and overlaid visualisations of the insights onto a virtual reality environment,” Millman continued. “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.”

The app is able to download across Android and iOS devices now, with the 6 Nations kicking off on Saturday when France taken on Italy and England take on Scotland.

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