Maximizing Productivity of Distributed Teams at Holder Construction

Holder Construction was looking for a better way to connect team members and their content in offices in six cities.



Mezzanine is the solution Holder Construction deployed to connect team members in multiple locations with content from multiple sources. This Atlanta-based leading contractor of large commercial projects regularly meets to review architectural plans before construction begins. 

As Doug Hunter, Executive Vice President, describes in the above video, all projects of the firm go through his group. It’s an essential step in the process of bringing an architectural vision to life. Chad Douglas, Director of Pre-Construction at Holder, explains how Mezzanine helped their team save time and money, allowing for a positive impact on the bottom line.

We had a client who was very early in the conceptual phases of putting a project together. Our Virtual Design and Construction department sat in the Mezzanine room with the Revit file up on the screen and started making adjustments on the fly—what if we stretched this building a little bit taller, what if we made it a little bit wider. The ability to use Mezzanine and bring everyone into one place, in real time, meant that it was a five hour effort as opposed to a five week effort, because we had the technology to solve the problem quickly.

Holder Construction was also looking for a way to collaborate more effectively on projects between offices and to have everyone feel united together on the project. In the past, one person had to be the central point of control through which all aspects must pass. Now, with Mezzanine, this distributed team is able to seamlessly share multiple pieces of content and applications at the same time, including drawings, timelines, budgets and bids. With the pixel-rich multi-screen data visualization and creation capabilities of Mezzanine, large files can scale and render with fine resolution. So, when looking to value-engineer a major project for a client, multiple versions can be assessed simultaneously by the team. 

When all the stakeholders, tools, and materials can come to the table at the same time—wherever they are located, including on the job site—problem-solving becomes swifter and more effective. This kind of fluid visual canvas for teamwork is changing the game for Holder Construction. To find out how immersive visual collaboration can drive better business outcomes for your  organization, get in touch with us.

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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