Celebrating the Vision Space at Gensler SF

Bay Area executives responsible for workplace enablement at top firms joined us for an exclusive peek at new technology driving the Vision conference room at Gensler’s office at 2 Harrison Street. Architects at the San Francisco flagship now have access to the immersive, visual, and spatial properties of Mezzanine for a wide range of collaborative design projects. For us, it was a special celebration of a new location where prospective customers can test drive immersive spatial computing in a convenient San Francisco setting linked to its network of offices that spans the globe from Los Angeles to Barcelona.

Mezzanine is the only platform for the enterprise that brings immersive and multi-dimensional computing power to globally connected teams. Mezzanine uses space—architectural space—to surround a work group with all of the information it needs to get real work done. With Mezzanine, executives are empowered to connect and contribute visuals and live streams from their own devices simultaneously, so that everyone on the team can see vital information side-by-side, plus sort across surfaces, edit, and annotate for the most effective communication and outcomes. This kind of spatial computing power is well suited to the design/build world, which relies heavily on visual information and collaboration between subject matter experts to drive innovative solutions and bring projects to life.

Mezzanine enables immersive visual collaboration for Gensler architects and designers.

As the world’s leading global architecture firm, Gensler’s own research confirms that workplace design considerations are essential for driving business innovation. In its latest US Workplace survey of 4000 office workers in 11 industries, Gensler found that the most innovative firms prioritize collaboration in workplace design, empower workers as meaningful contributors, and have management that clearly cares about worker satisfaction. The most innovative firms are 5X more likely to prioritize both individual AND collaborative group workspace.  

Oblong CEO John Underkoffler commented, "Gensler is responsible for some of the world's best and most actionable thinking about the ways in which the arrangement of architectural space can shape, organize, and benefit human work patterns. From the beginning, Oblong's approach to technology and design has been highly aligned: how can an evolution of the user interface (UI) make digital workflows more like those that depend on architectural space? Mezzanine is a direct manifestation of that philosophy." 

With the installation of Mezzanine, firms demonstrate an interest in enabling workers to make the greatest collaborative contributions and signal a commitment to innovation and improved workflows. Executives leading the digital transformation of the workplace are invited to schedule a demo of Mezzanine in San Francisco, Los Altos, or one of 15 other locations around the world.

Working with Watson

The goal of each Watson Experience Center—located in New York, San Francisco, and Cambridge—is to demystify AI and challenge visitor’s expectations through more tangible demonstrations of Watson technology. Visitors are guided through a series of narratives and data interfaces, each grounded in IBM’s current capabilities in machine learning and AI. These sit alongside a host of Mezzanine rooms where participants further collaborate to build solutions together.

The process for creating each experience begins with dynamic, collaborative research. Subject matter experts take members of the design and engineering teams through real-world scenarios—disaster response, financial crimes investigation, oil and gas management, product research, world news analysis—where we identify and test applicable data sets. From there, we move our ideas quickly to scale.

Accessibility to the immersive pixel canvas for everyone involved is key to the process. Designers must be able to see their ideas outside of the confines of 15″ laptops and prescriptive software. Utilizing tools tuned for rapid iteration at scale, our capable team of designers, data artists, and engineers work side-by-side to envision and define each experience. The result is more than a polished marketing narrative; it's an active interface that allows the exploration of data with accurate demonstrations of Watson’s capabilities—one that customers can see themselves in.

Under the Hood

Underlying the digital canvas is a robust spatial operating environment, g‑speak, which allows our team to position real data in a true spatial context. Every data point within the system, and even the UI itself, is defined in real world coordinates (measured in millimeters, not pixels). Gestures, directional pointing, and proximity to screens help us create interfaces that more closely understand user intent and more effectively humanize the UI.

This award-nominated collaboration with IBM is prototyped and developed at scale at Oblong’s headquarters in Los Angeles as well as IBM’s Immersive AI Lab in Austin. While these spaces are typically invite-only, IBM is increasingly open to sharing the content and the unique design ideas that drive its success with the public. This November, during Austin Design Week, IBM will host a tour of their Watson Immersive AI Lab, including live demonstrations of the work and a Q&A session with leaders from the creative team.

Can't make it to Austin? Contact our Solutions team for a glimpse of our vision of the future at our headquarters in the Arts District in Los Angeles.

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