Our Collaboration with IBM Watson

Right now, IBM is in the midst of one of its largest reinvention efforts to date, and we’re honored that Oblong technology is helping IBM illustrate how it is driving such rapid and meaningful change.

IBM is no stranger to transformation. Over its more than 100‑year history, the company has reinvented itself repeatedly, creating one of the most trusted brands in the world and continually earning its stripes as a leading innovator.

IBM’s massive, design-centered pivot, as highlighted in the New York Times last year, is pioneering a paradigm shift in the way organizations solve problems and make decisions. That same dedication to design in the service of enterprise-scale work closely mirrors our focus at Oblong. So it makes sense that IBM is engaging us to help create immersive experiences that deliver on their reinvented vision—particularly with its Watson initiatives.

As Watson is a key part of IBM’s transformation, the company needed to bring this groundbreaking cognitive computing technology to life for its customers. IBM sought a way for clients to interact with various Watson solutions and visualize use cases for the technology. The Oblong Solutions team built a suite of custom applications atop our exclusive g-speak spatial operating environment to enable several dynamic, larger-than-life displays at the first Watson Experience Center (WEC) in IBM’s Watson headquarters at Astor Place in New York City.

“Our UI-centered philosophy, our passion for design, and our dedication to making a difference in the world through computing all align with IBM’s mission. The depth and breadth of our work together are a testament to the power of a shared vision. We’re thrilled that our spatial computing applications help illustrate the applications and benefits of cognitive computing. We’re hugely energized by the early results of this combination and can’t wait to explore the vast potential it holds.”

John Underkoffler
Founder and CEO of Oblong

Mezzanine Equipped THINKTanks

We integrated these unique interactive systems with our proven Mezzanine offering to provide a continuous experience (with high wow factor) and, more importantly, to facilitate collaboration between IBM’s solutions architects and its clients. With the flick of a wand, users can grab content from any one of the expansive displays and drop it into a nearby exploratory room.

Mezzanine in the THINKTanks enriches the Watson teams’ sessions with Infopresence—the experience of group immersion in vital content to achieve heightened real-time collaboration, within a room and across locations. This means that anyone at the WEC can interact and work seamlessly with researchers at other IBM locations, and all participants can draw from multiple systems and applications to help them solve challenges in a transformatively fluid and parallel way.

With Infopresence and our cutting-edge g-speak applications providing a vivid, interactive connection between cognitive computing and spatial computing, the Astor Place WEC achieved instant success—the facility is consistently booked months in advance. It was clear that the Center needed to expand.

Ed Harbour
Vice President
IBM Watson

“Being able to demonstrate Watson technology with spatial computing and Infopresence has brought a powerful new dynamic to the way we work with clients. We wanted to bottle it and share it around the globe—and so we did. We used the same technology from Oblong to create Watson centers in other geographies, which are essentially compact versions of the original WEC. All these spaces, small and large, are more than just a dazzling display of technology. They are hubs for shaping the future.

A Global Information Hub

The preconstruction team now operates much more efficiently. They are capable of delivering more projects, more quickly, than ever before. Meetings which used to require traveling from one office to another can now be accomplished remotely. Their teams are collaborating with clients in new ways, bringing applications into meetings and making adjustments in real-time.

The benefits extend beyond productivity gains. Doug Hunter, Executive VP, remarked, “The biggest impact, outside of just the efficiency, is the cultural aspect of it.” They are working differently than in the past, making their workforce feel more connected.

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