Stay in Place, Cut the Waste

PHOTO SOURCE: House Press Gallery 

A recent effort is afoot in the House of Representatives to decrease by 50% the $10 billion per year in travel expenses borne by the federal government. A bipartisan group has introduced HR 2643, the “Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act.” Representative Mike Fitzpatrick spoke about it last week with Rich Zeilo on talk radio. At Oblong, we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the concept behind this bill and will follow its progress, as it speaks directly to some of the key benefits of Mezzanine. 

The work of government employees is complex, involves multiple stakeholders, requires data from various sources, and necessitates group consensus. To achieve successful collaboration, people need to go beyond teleconferencing and peer-to-peer screen-sharing; they need the ability to share content, capture ideas, archive work and make informed decisions in the moment. 

Mezzanine answers the needs of government agencies by providing InfoPresence—the incorporation of multiple users, multiple devices, and multiple streams of information in a high-fidelity shared digital workspace. It makes for a collaborative and productive environment and saves both time and money. 

Whether the bill becomes law or not, Oblong is ready to service the needs of the US Government. Mezzanine is already listed on the GSA schedule with our partners at Carahsoft and we look forward to helping government groups not just reduce waste and stay in place, but boost productivity and help agencies arrive at decisions faster.

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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