IBM’s Watson IoT Global Headquarters, Munich

Global HQ for customers looking to transform their operations using IoT and Watson cognitive technologies

A showcase for Watson IoT

Working with Universal Design StudioVok Dams and IBM Research
we created furniture, installations and experiences for IBM’s Watson IoT HQ. We developed an approach to explaining the complex nature of cognitive computing and the Internet of Things using physical installations creating an environment where IBM can showcase Watson IoT technologies, present case studies and co-create with clients.

Ground Floor Lobby

The Lobby embodies the new IBM, an energetic gathering place merging reception, work and social spaces with a consumer-friendly vibe. Rather than a traditional reception desk, we created a large communal table which merges the functions of reception desk with an energetic centerpiece, it contains digital displays showcasing IBM apps and a built-in espresso machine for visitors. Around the perimeter of the Lobby, tables topped with glass vitrines contain Watson IoT Stories and Demos to entertain and educate visitors with examples of how IBM’s cognitive IoT will touch, influence, and improve their everyday lives.

20th Floor Client Experience Zone

The 20th Floor opens the imagination to the potential of cognitive IoT. This is the setting for moderated client experiences and is also a collaborative space for IBM to co-work with customers. The client experience zones explain cognitive computing and IoT using physical installations and embedded technology.

IoT Installation

Visitors are welcomed with a large-scale installation, which makes the IoT phenomenon relatable at a human scale. Hundreds of devices are arranged on a massive Corian plinth in the center of the room. These devices are the actual sensors and actuators from a BMW i8 car. The installation shows the ‘things’ from the Internet of Things, making the point that billions of devices are connected to the internet, producing huge amounts of data.

Data & Scale

Understanding the huge volume of data created by IoT is core to grasping the potential of cognitive technologies. We developed an installation to communicate the scale of data – a custom-built archive unit containing hundreds of books printed with the actual data captured by the BMW i8 sensors on the plinth during a 60 second period. Backlighting behind the books is revealed to be an embedded digital display, which visualises data streams. This quantity of data can only be interpreted using Cognitive technology like IBM Watson.

Mixed Reality Table

In the main experience space, visitors gather around a large circular plinth at the centre of the room. The plinth is a singular piece of Corian on a dark powder coated base integrated beautifully into the architecture. A video wall cantilevers into the space for supporting video. We developed the plinth as entirely new mixed reality presentation tool for IBM Watson IoT case studies. When items are placed on the table, cameras and sensors embedded in the overhead cowling link to a computer vision system, which recognises the objects and augments them with HD video content.

Case Studies

We designed bespoke timber boxes for the Watson IoT case studies. Each box contains a series of abstracted physical props, which represent different concepts. During a presentation, when the objects are placed on the table, they trigger case study content as sounds, videos and augmented content on the table surface.

Co-Create Space

After the presentation of the case studies, IBM customers move to two plinths in the perimeter of the room, which serve as informal working areas. For interactive digital demos, 32” touch screens rise automatically from the plinths. The space then transforms into a co-create area to work with clients. Curtains automatically move back to reveal stunning views of Munich. and panels in the central presentation plinth open to reveal 14 chairs and the surface then drops down automatically to form a meeting table.