John Underkoffler to Kick Off a Summer Tour

Please join us at Oblong’s Houston office on Wednesday, June 24 for a reception with Oblong CEO John Underkoffler, and our newest southwest hire, Nick Vacca, formerly of Gartner Group. Oblong’s Texas hub is at 2 Riverway at the north end of Houston’s Galleria area.

This event is an exceptional opportunity to learn about the future of human machine interface from one of its chief developers, and to see its latest manifestation with Mezzanine™ visual collaboration technology for innovative workplaces. John Underkoffler holds a PhD from the MIT Media Lab, is a former TED speaker, consultant to Hollywood filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, and the most recent recipient of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum National Design Award for Interaction Design. Some have called him a “Real-Life Tony Stark.

Along with good food and drink, Nick and the team will treat customers, partners, and prospects to demos of  Mezzanine™ for conferencing and collaboration. Join us in exploring how the visionary computing environments imagined for films such as Minority Report and Iron Man are now real world solutions for companies such as IBM, Schlumberger, Saudi Aramco, Boeing, Beats Music, and Dentsu Aegis Network.

To attend the reception, an RSVP is required and space will fill quickly. To schedule a separate appointment in the Houston office for you and your team to experience Mezzanine first hand, email us at Please include your complete contact information and a bit about your firm, your role, and your interest. We look forward to seeing you in Houston!

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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