Flipping the Script at Stevens Institute
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A revolution in classroom learning is underway at Stevens Institute of Technology. The students have an active role in contributing to class lessons, instead of just passively listening to long lectures, because they have Mezzanine from Oblong Industries.
- Gregory Prastacos, Dean of the School of Business
This investment turned the dynamics of the classroom on its head. The learning environment is now more collaborative with students able to immediately connect and contribute content streams from multiple sources simultaneously. This enables teams of student analysts to get significantly more engaged, evaluate problems from a wider angle, and move faster to better decisions. The educator in this environment can take on a supporting role as advisor, advocate, and guide to problem-solving the matters at hand. The approach is important, because it mirrors the realities of the future of work, which is forecast to be ever more complex.
- George Calhoun, Director of the Quantitative Finance Program
With the data deluge here now—the exponential increase in information coming ever faster and from every angle—tools are needed to help teams make sense of it. In the finance industry, markets and rates and opportunities are by definition influenced by myriad sources, expectations, timing, and trends. To win in the markets means you need great insights. Sure, A.I. and machine learning can provide filtration and prediction services but are you getting your answers from one source, or from multiple sources? Thorny problems require information and monitoring from multiple sources. You could consume source-data serially — first this chart and then that feed and then this other reference — but that takes a lot more brain power and retention than just putting everything up side-by-side where analysts can see it all together.
Take a moment to watch the video, and hear students and educators talk about it in their own words.
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.