By Tom Malone
We aren’t far from a new chapter in collaboration in which immersive analytics and the power of the cloud will provide more rich business interaction. Just as Webex and Go To Meeting transformed online meetings at the millennium, immersive analytics, serverless computing, cloud desktops, virtual digital assistants and machine learning will transform human interaction…and there’s nothing to fear.
Imagine a global sales management working meeting; and let’s make this example a global packaging company with over $10Bn in revenue with 12 Territory Sales Managers, 3 Area VPs all reporting into the SVP. In this meeting 7 people have flown in for the meeting and the others are connecting online. As the meeting comes to order, those on premise put on AR glasses, they can see each other as well as a hologram, while the remote participants put VR goggles on, where they see avatars of all participants and the presentation.
The purpose of the meeting is to track revenue growth on a product category that rolled out 12 months prior. A summary graph reveals revenue by region areas and those that have not been growing are immediately apparent. Those regions are asked to describe their challenges, so the Territory Sales Manager from Western Europe asks for control by gesturing in a control box at the bottom of her view. All other viewers then share her view while she clicks on the bar representing her quarterly sales, a rollup of several thousands of transactions. She drills into her results, showing a scattergraph of customer adoption. She activates a machine learning algorithm that groups customers and products by region while correlating local government regulations with her sales results revealing her region’s primary challenge. An action item is discussed and the group agrees that their government affairs team needs to provide a plan to address the problem. A virtual assistant at the corner of each participant’s screen lights up to confirm that the item is captured and will be summarized and distributed to all participants.
In another example the data analysts for an online retailer are meeting with a consulting group, helping them expedite logistics. A chart of all shipments is displayed and the group collectively views the data sorted by date, then by geography. The group is immersed in a pool of data, clustered by various dimensions so that anomalies are seen as outliers. Poorly performing outliers are revealed as floating spheres outside the higher volume clusters, each of the outliers is selected and the machine learning assistant re-sorts the data by carrier, displaying a root cause for all to view.
For this kind of meeting to be effective and not frustrating, for immersive analytics to provide a fluid experience, latency must be minimal, compute must be powerful, and data must be broadly accessible. Tools that are rolling out right now will make all this possible. If the participants all use Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop, then it can be configured through Ubikite to give each of the participant’s virtual desktops with powerful GPUs with no latency since their local laptop is just displaying pixels pushed to it from the virtual machine. The group’s data will be stored on a cloud, such as Azure or Amazon’s S3, right next to the computing engine which is driving the presentation. The VR and AR headsets might be Oculus Quest or Microsoft Hololens 2 and the immersive analytics might be provided by UlyssesVR.
The goal is to provide ease of human interaction while enhancing engagement, collaboration and creativity…and letting participants enjoy data-driven storytelling to arrive at solutions while avoiding airport security lines, cramped airplane seats and jetlag. At the March 2019 Gartner Data & Analytics Summit Gartner forecasted that by 2022 25% of organizations will have adopted immersive analytics for data visualization. Just imagine what that might do for the human experience of the workplace.
Tom Malone is an entrepreneur who builds lean, mission-driven startups that identify and capture unique and sustainable opportunities. He is currently Entrepreneur-In-Residence for People Tech Group in Redmond, WA. Here are links to his references: Windows Virtual Desktop, Ubikite, Azure, S3, Ulysses. Email Tom to connect at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn.