Transcosmos inc. and NTT Communications Corporation announced today that in August, they launched a demonstration test of a virtual communication service in the metaverse to enable businesses to serve customers online via enjoyable virtual communication. The test, which is part of the two companies’ ongoing efforts to create new methods of communication via the metaverse, will demonstrate virtual customer services that use full-body tracking avatars*1 for customer communication approximating real-store experiences.
Changes in lifestyles brought on by the COVID-19 crisis have led to the diversification of communication channels for customer services. As a result, businesses are taking initiatives to enhance services that they deliver online or via contact centers.
With the shift of various services online, mobile websites and chat services have generally improved customer convenience, but some customers still prefer to receive services similar to those conventionally experienced in physical stores. In response, transcosmos is creating virtual communication services for enhanced online customer services.
To deliver online services similar to real-world experiences, customers need to see and feel non-verbal communication, such as gestures and facial expressions. To achieve this, as well as to verify appropriate distances between customers and store staff for improved virtual experiences, the test is using full-body tracking avatars in the metaverse.
2. Scope of Verification
The test is designed to verify that a virtual store in the metaverse can meet two basic conditions. The first condition is to offer customer services similar to those in real stores while also using the virtual world to maximize the value of the customer experience. The second condition is to offer virtual customer services that function as purchasing channels.
- Assess and verify the design and features of a virtual store in the metaverse that simulates a physical store.
- Verify the level of customer satisfaction with virtual customer services incorporating full-body tracking avatars capable of expressing non-verbal communication.
- Assess and verify the ability of customer-service agents to use digital technologies such as text data/video clip sharing and AI-powered speech recognition.
3. Roles and Responsibilities
- Deployment and management of transpeech,*2 the company’s speech-recognition and emotion-analysis solution.
- Management of virtual communication services, including customer-service agents in the metaverse.
- Preparations to commercialize virtual communication services based on analysis of test operational data.
- Installation and management of phones and communication equipment (OCN, etc.)
- Provision of the company’s NTT XR Coworking metaverse service (metaverse space & avatars)
Kenshi Matsubara, Representative Director, Executive Vice President, transcosmos inc.:
“Under our corporate vision – Global Digital Transformation Partner – transcosmos is helping businesses drive their digital transformation (DX) initiatives. We aim to deliver optimal customer-service experiences via enjoyable virtual communication online. To achieve that goal, we will apply our online-communication expertise based on proven experience to make online business-to-customer communication as real as possible.”
Satoko Takahashi, Senior Vice President, Communication & Application Services, Platform Service Division, NTT Communications Corporation:
“NTT Communications is working to create a Smart World by helping clients to achieve digital transformation (DX) for new business creation and stronger competitiveness. In this test, NTT Com and transcosmos aim to create customer experiences that go beyond the real world in ways only possible with virtual communication. To achieve this goal, we are combining our respective strengths: NTT Com’s legacy strengths in telecommunication as well as new, cutting-edge technologies such as AI and XR, and transcosmos’s proven expertise in online communication services.”
5. Future Outlook
Building on the results of the test, transcosmos aims to create, deliver, enhance and assist virtual communication services as well as an environment in which metaverse-based customer services for e-commerce complete within a virtual space. The company also is considering utilizing such services for exhibitions and business events. Additionally, transcosmos has launched its own demonstration test of services powered by the metaverse for enhanced communication between businesses and their employees.*4 Ultimately, transcosmos and NTT Com hope to contribute to a more sustainable world by utilizing the metaverse to enrich the value of communication.