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Accenture Investment May Trigger Generative AI, Sustainable IT Services Opportunities

June 5, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

When global IT consulting firm Accenture invested in Touchcast in 2021, the opportunity involved an AI platform for virtual events that offered immersive, interactive experiences for attendees.

Fast forward to present day, and that three-year-old investment may yield new opportunities involving generative AI, energy efficiency, cloud data centers and sustainable IT services.

First, some background and context. Though deal terms were not released, the investment's focus seemed logical in 2021. Indeed, immersive technologies and virtual events were hot areas during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had crippled in-person gatherings. Around the same time, Facebook had rebranded as Meta in order to emphasize immersive Metaverse experiences. Similarly, Touchcast began to emphasize the Metaverse as a Service.

But the Metaverse hype cycle largely ended in November 2022 when Meta -- the parent of Facebook -- laid off 11,000 employees. That same month, OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT to spark the generative AI boom.

Generative AI Applications on Microsoft Azure: Sustainable and Energy Efficient?

Fast forward to May 2024. That's when Touchcast launched a Cognitive Content Delivery Network (cCDN) for large language models (LLMs) on Microsoft Azure. The cCDN, deployed across all Azure data centers, leverages Touchcast's proprietary technology to deliver "unparalleled cost-efficiency, performance and alignment for generative AI (GenAI) workloads," the companies said.

Touchcast's CogCache software "enables billions of users to access generative AI-powered experiences while minimizing energy consumption and operational costs," Touchcast added.

Accenture, meanwhile, offers IT consulting services and cloud managed services for Microsoft Azure. Piece it all together, and Accenture could be ideally positioned to assist customers with generative AI applications -- which helping to ensure those applications don't become energy consumption hogs.

Generative AI Applications and Data Centers: Energy Consumption Concerns

Touchcast appears to be at the right place at the right time with the right technology.

The context: Amid booming demand for AI infrastructure, some critics worry AI chip deployments will trigger exponential energy consumption from cloud service providers (CSPs) and data centers. Among the market forecasts and research findings to note:

Microsoft Follows Accenture; Invests In Touchcast

With those data points in mind, Microsoft invested in Touchcast in June 2024 -- roughly three years after Accenture invested in the startup.

The Microsoft investment in Touchcast surfaced the same week that Microsoft promoted a Datacenter Community Pledge -- which calls for the company to "design and operate our datacenters to support society’s climate goals and become carbon negative, water positive and zero waste before 2030," Corporate VP Noelle Walsh wrote in a blog.

Accenture Business and Sustainability Strategy: Investments, Acquisitions and IT Services

Accenture, based in Dublin, Ireland, has roughly 733,000 employees. The company's focus spans IT consulting, managed IT services, sustainability services, and dozens of additional capabilities.

Key moves on the sustainability front include:

Where is Accenture heading from here? We'll seek answers during the company's Q3 2024 earnings call on June 20.

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