Talking about Digital Transformation in the Cognitive Era

When values-aligned companies get together on projects, really good things happen.

A case in point: the reception we hosted for Bay Area executives at IBM Watson West, alongside a discussion about digital transformation in the cognitive era. 

Inhi Cho Suh, General Manager of Watson Customer Engagement at IBM, briefed guests about how the Watson Experience Center enables deep engagement with customers on their cognitive and digital transformation journey, and how IBM partnered with Oblong Industries to deliver that experience. Oblong CEO John Underkoffler followed her remarks, and spoke about a shared vision for a better computing future.

The synchronicity of the two firms was clear at the event. Guests were able to peek behind-the-scenes in the IBM Watson West Experience Center to explore multiple examples of Oblong’s core technology, Our technology helps visitors understand the value and the power of cognitive business applications powered by Watson.

Examples of this come in the form of a giant interactive wall, and an enveloping immersion room (both powered by g-speak for gestural responsiveness), plus a series of “Think Tank” meeting rooms featuring Mezzanine. With its multi-user, multi-modal, multi-surface, and multi-location computing capabilities, Mezzanine engages customers around multiple streams of content simultaneously to facilitate insightful conversations.

Temporarily, for this event only, we also rolled in a Mezzanine 200 Series system. This particular configuration - popular for smaller war rooms, ideation labs, and huddle spaces - featured an essential integration with

 The persistent ‘always on’ collaboration utility of Watson Workspace brings team members closer together and keeps projects at the team’s fingertips. And by integrating with Mezzanine, multiple streams of content can come together from multiple sources simultaneously for the most immersive and data-rich collaborative work sessions. Best of all: outputs from Mezzanine sessions can be dropped instantly into a Watson Workspace project. 

Why does this matter? It’s clear that businesses can’t pursue digital transformation without considering a transformation in the ways teams interact and share information together. With better business tools for collaborators you’ll find better business outcomes. We’re champions of a new user interface for computing environments, which serves most naturally the way humans operate in physical space. We believe there is an overdue revolution in UI, which perfectly complements the cognitive era that is upon us. 

Interested in experiencing first hand the power of a Mezzanine-enabled IBM Watson Workspace? Visit the IBM Collaboration booth #1732 at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, March 12-15, 2018.

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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