The new offices include an Innovation Hub – a space dedicated to co-creating customer-centric solutions with clients and partners using IBM’s Design Thinking methodology. The Hub provides the capacity, networking, infrastructure, cognitive business technologies and expertise to progress solutions from ideation to design and implementation.
Brett O’Riley, Chief Executive of Auckland’s economic growth agency Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), says, “IBM is a welcome addition to the innovation precinct in Wynyard Quarter.
“The innovation precinct in Wynyard Quarter is playing a key role in fostering a culture of innovation in Auckland, which is essential for a stronger, more diverse and more productive economy.
“IBM has a long legacy of technology innovation. We welcome their move to the Wynyard Quarter, adding to the vibrant mix of businesses that are reinforcing Auckland’s standing as an innovation hub of the Asia Pacific region,” he says.
The office space, one of four IBM locations nationwide, is designed for “activity based working” where employees choose from collaboration, meeting, networking or focus zones depending on their needs. It enables ‘agile’ working practices, allowing employees to track and prioritise work, iterate, and continuously deliver value for clients. The office is entirely wifi and cloud-based collaboration apps enable real time access to IBM’s global industry experts and researchers.
To celebrate the opening, IBM, in conjunction with neighbouring businesses Fonterra and Bayleys, is making 8 ride share bicycles available to Wynyard Quarter commuters to further encourage the free flow of ideas and people within the precinct. IBM is also hosting a number of community events in the VXV Plaza this week, including morning exercise classes, an open air cinema, and a Friday long lunch for 1,000 people which will feature cognitive food and drink creations from Fonterra, Frucor and Chef Watson. IBM is also showcasing some of the latest Watson-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies including:
- Emotional Cognition Technology from Soul Machines which creates empathetic user interactions between humans and machines; giving emotional, human-context, to artificial intelligence, and in conjunction with IBM Watson, is demonstrated through the human-like Avatar ‘Rachel’.
- A Virtual Reality cognitive market research platform, called “Shopper360”, developed by Rush Digital and Lumaten, and made possible by new research in cognitive psychology and predictive analytics utilising IBM Watson.
- A demonstration from IBM UK Technical Liaison Joshua Carr, who can control a Star Wars BB8 Droid with his mind using IBM technologies.
“The physical shift of IBM’s New Zealand Auckland home is the latest in a long line of local investments – from our $80 million state-of-the-art data centre in Highbrook in 2011 to over $20 million more recently on our onshore cloud infrastructure, plus our education sector partnerships,” says Mike Smith, Managing Director, IBM New Zealand. “It’s also a key part of our strategy to transform working practices nationwide, emphasising more collaborative, agile methodologies to ensure the customer experience takes centre stage in everything we do.”