Rapid Adoption of Extended Reality Creates Urgent Need for Responsible Design and Deployment of Immersive Technologies, According to Accenture Report

Early responsible business approaches can sustain explosive growth of XR

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite its potential to provide tremendous economic and social
benefits, extended reality (XR) carries new physical, mental and social
risks that require business leaders to proactively design, build and
deploy XR tools and business models responsibly from the start,
according to a new report from Accenture

Up to a New Reality: Building a Responsible Future for Immersive
,” published in collaboration with the G20
Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance
(G20 YEA), examines how extended
reality (XR) — which includes virtual reality (VR), augmented
reality (AR) and a growing range of other immersive tools — is already
creating new value well beyond the worlds of gaming and entertainment.
In addition to delivering enhanced customer experiences, immersive tools
are being used to augment workforce productivity, provide training and
deliver mental health treatments.

In fact, industry expenditure on XR is overtaking consumer spending and
is set to reach triple the level of consumer usage by 2023, reaching
US$121billon, according to IDC. Accenture analysis shows that the number
of patent applications for AR and VR rose almost five-fold between 2014
and 2016, to more than 6,000, and start-up funding grew 237% in the same

Despite the opportunities, the report notes that the power and intimacy
of XR tools pose new dangers to the wellbeing of individuals and society
that are far greater than those experienced as a result of today’s
technologies. These new dangers include:

  • Misuse of personal data: Going beyond people’s personal
    information, or social media activity, XR could expose their feelings,
    behaviors and judgments to cyber-theft and manipulation.
  • Fake experiences: When consuming news and information through
    immersive experiences, it will be harder to separate reality from
    fiction, making it easier to profoundly influence behaviors, opinions
    and decisions.
  • Cybersecurity: Not only could avatars be used to create new
    forms of identity-related crime, but critical tasks, like surgery,
    that become dependent on immersive technologies, could be at risk of
  • Anti-social behavior: Trolls could go from intimidating with
    words on social media to physically intimidating people in a virtual
    world with avatars. And antisocial behavior that is normalized in a
    virtual environment can creep into real-world behaviors.

We believe the best experiences are those that sit at the
intersection of purpose and innovation to improve lives,” said Rori
Duboff, head of content innovation, Accenture
. “There is a tremendous opportunity with XR to learn
from past mistakes and design more inclusive and accountable worlds and
experiences. Ultimately, for XR to succeed, strategy and creative teams
must have diverse mindsets, and experiences need to be accessible to

The report also points to the greater risks of tech addiction and the
disengagement of people from real-world societal problems and shows how
unequal access to XR could amplify social divisions through exclusion
from consumer and working opportunities.

“We are entering a post-digital era where emerging technologies such as
XR are driving the next waves of innovation and growth,” said Marc
senior managing director of Accenture
and global lead of Accenture’s
Extended Reality group
. “XR will be core to enabling these
opportunities, but we must address the risks posed by today’s
technologies and design XR tools and immersive experiences responsibly.”

Priority actions for businesses include:

  • Build your early-warning system: Rather than creating rules
    that cannot keep up with rapid innovation, business leaders must
    instil a culture of responsibility that integrates ethical questions
    into the habitual behaviours of everyday work and key decisions.
  • Draw on diverse experts for responsible design: Businesses must
    extend their ecosystem of partners to include neuroscientists, mental
    health experts, sociologists and behavioural theorists to aid the
    responsible design and use of XR tools.
  • Supercharge your workers: Target XR investments to improve
    worker productivity, training and creativity. The very roles that are
    most exposed to automation are often those that will be augmented by
    immersive technologies, helping to turn jobs at risk into jobs of the

“XR is rapidly moving beyond virtual reality and augmented reality to
include a wide range of tools that use and enhance our human senses,
including touch, smell, taste and even our thoughts. Used correctly,
these promise incredible improvements to the way we live and work,” said Armen
, principal director, Accenture
. “We have a duty to ensure that safeguards keep up with
technological innovation. We’re calling on business leaders,
policymakers and civil society to act now, together, to proactively
design a responsible future for XR.”

The report also recommends actions for policy makers:

  • Ensure inclusive and affordable access: extend powerful new
    infrastructure (like 5G networks) to make XR experiences widely
    available, at appropriate prices, especially for the provision of
    health, education and social services.
  • Incentivize local innovators and entrepreneurs: enable small
    businesses to not only use XR tools and experiences, but also
    participate in their development, ensuring locally-relevant solutions.
  • Stimulate research and discussion: convene relevant experts
    from across sectors and disciplines to build the necessary
    understanding and principles that allow XR innovation to flourish amid
    appropriate safeguards.

For more information on this report and research, please visit: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/technology/responsible-immersive-technologies.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a
broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital,
technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and
specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business
functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network –
Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help
clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their
stakeholders. With 477,000 people serving clients in more than 120
countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world
works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.


Tourang Nazari
Accenture Media Relations
+1 202-322-4640

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