John Underkoffler and Spencer Kelly re: Connect

Oblong CEO John Underkoffler and BBC Click host Spencer Kelly to speak at premiere Connect event at the London Design Museum September 26-27, 2018.

Connect - Age of Collaboration is a brand new event presented by Maverick AV Solutions. It is designed to bring together industry experts to share ideas and perspectives on the future of work – the people, process, space, and technology. This will be the second meeting for Spencer Kelly and John Underkoffler who were introduced when BBC Click made a visit to Oblong’s HQ in Los Angeles.

Host Spencer Kelly is a technology expert and broadcaster recognized as the Tech Personality of the Year at the 2015 T3 Awards. Spencer’s knowledge and love for science and technology means he is no stranger to bringing forward-thinking topics to the stage; at Connect he’ll be exploring the future of workplace tech. Our own John Underkoffler, who is no slouch on such matters, will join Spencer Kelly in conversation on the 27 September. John will also keynote on opening day, September 26. And speaking of awards in 2015, John won the National Design Award for Interaction Design and samples of his work are now included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian.

These two will have a lot to talk about. 

Other seminar speakers and workshop sessions will include Rosie Haslam, director of architectural studio Spacelab, who will explore fascinating case studies on the use of “attractors” to maximise workplace productivity, while Dr. Harriet Shortt from the University of West England will illuminate the importance of “in-between” spaces – the corridors, hallways, and lifts which play a critical role in collaborative work. Other industry and HR professionals will speak on subjects such as the needs of a millennial workforce, and the journey towards technological interoperability. 

Microsoft, Dell, and Cisco are key partners in the inaugural event, (Cisco being a partner of ours as well) which has the perfect home at the London Design Museum. The venue is an inspirational space, the 2018 European Museum of the Year, and the ideal backdrop to a collaboration event with its eye toward to the future. To register for this event in September, please visit

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?

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