SEATTLE, Wash.; March 11, 2008 ? Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Avanade Inc. announced today the availability of its first retail showcase application for Microsoft SurfaceTM. This new application has the potential to transform the shopping experience by using Microsoft Surface to improve customer loyalty, allow customers to better understand complex purchases, build customer relationships and increase add-on sales.
Microsoft Surface is a 30-inch surface computing display in a table-like form factor that's easy for individuals or small groups to interact with in a way that feels familiar, just like in the real world. Surface provides effortless interaction with digital content through touch, gestures and by placing objects on the tabletop, rather than through the use of a keyboard or mouse.
The application will simplify increasingly complex purchasing decisions facing consumers by providing all the relevant product information at their fingertips and making the purchasing process collaborative. It will differentiate retailers and allow them to make a deep connection to their customers by combining the best of their online store experience with the ability to physically interact with products.
For example, customers in an electronics store deciding which TV to buy are usually confronted with a broad range of choices, each with very different specifications and price points. Using the application developed by Accenture and Avanade, customers can compare products, draw scaled images of rooms in their home ? complete with existing furniture and lighting ? to see how the products would look. Customers can also book installation and complete their purchase by moving images and information across the screen with their hands.
The application even illustrates the optimum viewing area for different TVs. Before making their purchase, customers can also choose additional products to go with their TV purchase, such as a remote control or cables.
Jeff Smith, managing director of Accenture's Retail practice, said of the application, "This application can change a store into a destination in its sector and it is one tool that should be in a customer-centric retailer's arsenal. Surface's multi-user capabilities allow retailers to share in a collaborative buying experience with customers, providing not just detailed knowledge about products in the store but also how it is going to look, when it can be installed and even where the customer should sit on their sofa for the best view. For the retailer, it can help store associates by supplementing their customer service activities with 'at your fingertips' knowledge support."
"We are pleased to have Accenture and Avanade on board as strategic allies to provide software development and consulting services, and industry specific expertise that large retailers can leverage when integrating Surface into their retail strategy," said Lotfi Herzi, Microsoft Surface General Manager, Enterprise Division, "We believe Microsoft Surface brings a unique and compelling value to retailers by giving them new ways to differentiate, diversify and delight their customers."
In addition to retail use, Accenture and Avanade see opportunities for the application in such industries as hospitality, entertainment and telecommunications.
A demo of the new retail application developed for Microsoft Surface is available at the Accenture and Avanade Solutions Showcase at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. This area is where Accenture and Avanade present enterprise-class business solutions on Microsoft technology platforms and offer clients the opportunity to participate in workshops to learn how these solutions can benefit their business.
Notes to editors
Microsoft Surface, introduced in May 2007, is a 30-inch surface computing display in a table-like form factor that provides effortless interaction with all forms of digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 175,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$19.70 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2007. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
Avanade is a global IT consultancy dedicated to using the Microsoft platform to help enterprises achieve profitable growth. Through proven solutions that extend Microsoft technologies, Avanade helps enterprises increase revenue, reduce costs and reinvest in innovation to gain competitive advantage. Avanade consultants deliver value according to each customer's requirements, timeline and budget by combining insight, innovation and the talent of our global workforce. Founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft Corp., Avanade has more than 7,800 professionals serving customers in 22 countries worldwide.