When Worlds Combine: How Creatives Meet Geeks
We were honored to be selected by the Orange Institute global think tank as the final stop on their California tour of innovative companies shaping and defining today’s and tomorrow’s digital landscape.
“When worlds combine: how Creatives meet Geeks” was the theme for a whirlwind week-long trip through Silicon Valley and Los Angeles for more than 40 global business leaders and VIPs with stops that included stops at Twitter, YouTube, General Assembly and Autodesk.
In proper form and hewing to the theme, we welcomed our guests to Oblong Industries with a bit of a genesis story in the form of 5D founder Alex McDowell, production designer of the film “Minority Report” and our own chief scientist, John Underkoffler, the technology visionary for the very same film. Alex talked about prototyping the world, and John traced the fiction and science of Minority Report to the present, landing right at Mezzanine™, our collaborative conference room solution. It’s noted for bringing Minority Report flash to the workplace - with much more tangible result.
Guests experienced live demos of our foundational work in the spatial operating environment and SDK for creative coders—including donning the gloves for g-speak—but it was Mezzanine that dazzled. We connected Mezzanine-to-Mezzanine with our Barcelona office and shared high resolution content and data across a triptych of screens, over a virtual private network, which staff in both cities could organize and control. The utility of such a collaboration system was immediately evident. Who wouldn’t want that for their own global organization?
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.