Visitors to NTT Group’s new facility will experience a new era in workplace collaboration thanks to Mezzanine

The state-of-the-art NTT Innovation Institute (known as NTTi³) is the new research and development arm of NTT Group, a global leader in information and communications technology. Inside the building in the heart of Silicon Valley is the NTT CXC, a state-of-the-art interactive customer experience center designed to showcase NTT’s latest digital products and solutions to clients and customers. 

David Kung, Oblong’s VP Business Development comments: “CXC is one of the most technologically advanced R&D and executive briefing centers in the world. We are delighted that NTT has chosen Oblong’s Mezzanine to be such an integral part of it.”

Mezzanine is the only collaborative conference room solution on the market that brings together people, screens, devices, applications, and data in a shared digital workspace. It seamlessly blends physical and digital environments across distributed locations and goes well beyond videoconferencing to accelerate a company’s ability to share content, boost productivity and unlock innovation. NTT immediately saw the benefit of this new global standard of agility and innovation, recognizing the advantage to their business of swift and effective collaboration across multiple geographies. 

Oblong’s CEO and founder, John Underkoffler, designed the gestural systems depicted in the film Minority Report, and Mezzanine is a realization of these ideas. Said John, “All of the screens in the Overbridge Suite are connected, allowing the teams using it to share information on a wide canvas, collaborate together and make time critical decisions.NTT’s CXC is the perfect environment for Mezzanine, demonstrating how this once ‘futuristic’ technology plays an integral part in today’s global business.”

The team behind the NTT CXC had very nearly selected a different technology for the Overbridge Suite. Just 30 days prior to the build out, they experienced Mezzanine for the first time at Oblong’s office in Menlo Park. They made a swift change of plans and worked closely with Oblong’s install team to adapt construction. Remarked Kyle Thomas Miller, installation lead for Oblong, “We helped the NTT team re-conceive the conference room space to take full advantage of Mezzanine. It was a pleasure working with NTT on their swift change of plans and we were happy to help them fine tune the details for the revised build out.” 

Listen to what the NTT team has to say about working with Mezzanine and download the case study.

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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