Immersive + Cognitive Changes the Game

IBM has launched IBM Watson Workspace Essentials.

As a registered business partner – Oblong is bringing the immersive multi-stream visual collaboration experience to IBM Watson cognitive computing – we’re thrilled by the opportunity to improve the way teams work together. IBM Watson Workspace Essentials is an integrated solution binding best-in-class partner resources to the IBM Watson Workspace application. There’s a little backgrounder on this vital enterprise tool for teamwork right here

IBM Watson Workspace brings the power of cognitive computing to workplace collaborators. Imagine a chat app that has AI behind it, so that you can query “the smartest member” about data for a project. Or consider the new “moments” feature, which taps the workgroup’s content archive to surface the most relevant results. When things are really busy, project teams can count on Watson to summarize conversations, prioritize what's important to team members, and translate important keywords into actionable steps. Watson Workspace is also built to integrate seamlessly with everyday tools (like documents on Box, or like meetings on Mezzanine) to streamline work and make teams more efficient, productive, and focused. (In case you didn’t know, you can get started with IBM Watson Workspace for free.) 

Mezzanine amplifies the cognitive computing capabilities of the Watson Workspace in a number of ways. Because Mezzanine unites people, voice, video, and multiple content streams simultaneously, meetings actually flow. Because Mezzanine links team members in different room locations (and those working remotely) with a shared work surface scaled for teamwork, productivity peaks. When teams of all sizes can more easily sift large amounts of structured and unstructured data simultaneously (cognitive computing surfacing the best insights) and see what they need to see side-by-side, teams can arrive at decisions faster. Because Mezzanine scales up to wrap larger architectural spaces in a flexible digital canvas, or down to fit smaller huddle spaces, collaborators in all kinds of workplace settings can see and control all the content and data streams essential to the task at hand. Mezzanine alone is powerful, but the additional layer of cognitive computing with Watson Workspace takes teamwork to a new level.

We got our start on the project earlier this year. After deploying Mezzanine systems and g-speak solutions to IBM Watson Experience Centers, THINKLabs, and its new IBM X Force Command (among other places), we worked with the IBM Collaboration Solutions team to provide a peek at the advanced collaboration platform on the main stage at the annual IBM Connect conference. 

In February, new product evangelist Chris Crummey took the stage at IBM Connect to share with general manager Inhi Suh a sample workflow in a meeting space uniting Watson Work with Mezzanine. He walked the team through a typical meeting, showing a multi-location connected experience with colleagues in a distant office. An audience of thousands at the event saw first hand how seamlessly the assets flowed from the large screen displays of the Mezzanine meeting environment directly into the Watson Workspace. Since then, the solution has evolved to scale for even the smallest workgroups with the introduction of the Mezzanine 200 Series. 

Take a look at Mezzanine on stage at IBM Connect:



Though the development of this advanced collaboration platform started several months ago, we’re already seeing new and exciting ways to make the meeting experience more engaging and productive through this partnership. We can’t wait to share the roadmap to the future of work with this powerful new collaboration platform. Connect with us to learn more about bringing multi-stream and multi-threaded seamless collaboration tools to your digital workplace.

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.

Interested in Learning More?

Start a conversation with our team to deliver the best collaboration experience for your teaming spaces