/Accenture’s Innovation Hubs offer space to test boundaries of cutting-edge technology (via Qpute.com)

Accenture’s Innovation Hubs offer space to test boundaries of cutting-edge technology (via Qpute.com)

Corporate executives think tech needs to be more human-centric, and Accenture LLP is more than happy to provide research space where that can happen.

In Accenture’s newly released “Technology Vision 2020: We, The Post-Digital People,” the consulting firm found that 76% of executives surveyed believed that organizations needed to re-engineer experiences that bring technology and people together. To help facilitate that and other goals, Accenture has opened labs and research hubs around the world where clients and partners can gain a better understanding of technologies that are driving many of the trends outlined in the firm’s latest report.

“Clients are coming from all over the globe to understand the trends that are going to shape their business operations in the future,” said Ashley Miller (pictured), managing director of the San Francisco Innovation Hub at Accenture. “We are a sandbox where you can come in, build the proof of concept, test ideas, and then — in an ongoing continuous way — help understand their impacts to your business.”

Miller spoke with Jeff Frick, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Accenture Technology Vision event in San Francisco. Mary Hamilton, managing director of Accenture Labs for the Americas at Accenture, also spoke with Frick in a separate interview, and they discussed how Accenture’s Innovation centers help clients gain a better understanding of the latest tech trends, the role of new products in facilitating consumer experiences, and ways that material science can advance connected technologies.

Here’s the complete interview with Miller:

Understanding tech’s impact

Accenture’s Innovation Labs offer clients an opportunity to understand how key technologies, such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, machine vision, virtual reality, and natural language processing, could have significant business impact.

The firm’s most recent report identified a growing “tech-clash” between business assumptions around the use of personal data and consumer concerns. Accenture found that 66% of consumers were as concerned about the use of their personal data as they were about getting hacked.

“The undercurrent of this year’s ‘Technology Vision’ is thinking beyond the edges of your organization and understanding the choices that you make, how they impact the communities you serve,” Miller noted. “We have data ethicists who can understand the decisions you are making around AI. Are you using data securely? Are you using it in a way that makes people feel comfortable?”

In addition to focusing on the impact of current technologies, Accenture’s Innovation Hubs provide an environment where clients can analyze what may be coming next.

“We’ve got technologists who are partnering with universities, partnering with startups, thinking about how we do open innovation,” Hamilton said. “What are the next technologies, and how do we think about them in new and different ways?”

Here’s the complete interview with Hamilton:

Growing role of material science

One of the emerging trends that Accenture identified involved the changing notion of product ownership, or “The Dilemma of Smart Things.” Tech products are no longer finished items, but conduits for enhancing continuously evolving experiences.

The latest report found that 79% of executives believe there will be more variety in ownership models for connected products and services. An example of how this might develop can be seen in the application of material science, where the ability to embed sensor technology in increasingly thinner spaces could begin to have real impact.

“Material science allows you to do some of the same things that we see with sensors and even actuators but at the molecular level,” Hamilton said. “We all talk about internet of things and connected spaces and connected buildings, and that’s great. But imagine if everything is connected — the walls, the floor, your clothing — and you can almost start to have a conversation with the space.”

There are already signs that the kinds of advances described by Hamilton are moving forward. Researchers at MIT disclosed this month that they have enabled a robotic arm to understand its configuration in 3D space using data generated by its sensorized skin.

“The environment understands everything that’s going on, and, ideally, if we start to apply our research with AI, it can start to understand your intent, the context, and then we can start to create a super personalized experience,” Hamilton said.

These interviews are just part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the recent Accenture Technology Vision event.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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.(tagsToTranslate)Mark Albertson(t)SiliconANGLE(t)Accenture's Innovation Hubs offer space to test boundaries of cutting-edge technology

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