Big four audit firm KPMG is planning to open an innovation lab as part of its new Sydney offices, along with data visualisation ‘insight centres’ designed to showcase new technology to clients.
The innovation lab will be part of the professional service firm’s new offices in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct, to be joined by ‘pop up’ labs around the country. It will house emerging technologies including 3D printers, wearables, immersive reality, drones, and robotics.
A major focus of the centre will be data mining 500,000 online sources a day – including global patent databases, annual reports, venture capital activity, press releases and social media – for emerging disruptive technology trends.
The innovation centre is designed to help KPMG clients understand new technologies though play and experimentation, as well as to help forge links with start-ups.
KPMG also intends to introduce two insight centres over the next six months, which will offer interactive video walls with touch-enabled screens.
The first of the data visualisation facilities is set to open in Sydney during September, with the second to open as part of the firm’s new Collins Square offices in Melbourne during early 2017.
In some organisations, such as Woodside, innovation labs are run in conjunction with major universities, while other organisations including private health insurer HCF have opted for start-up incubators and accelerator programs.
The innovation lab will be overseen by Kristina Craig, who was previously the firm’s associate director of management consulting.
KPMG has implemented similar initiatives overseas, with innovation labs in New York and Amsterdam, as well as data visualisation facilities in Frankfurt and Hong Kong.
“These physical spaces have proven hugely successful internationally in helping clients understand the market opportunities and challenges, and adapt to the new reality," KPMG Australia national managing partner for brand and innovation Ken Reid said in a statement.
Emerging technologies is proving to be a new stomping ground for Australia's professional services sector. KPMG's recent movements in the space include the purchase of fintech consultancy Markets IT in February.