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IBM and Ricoh transform corporate meetings with industry-first, Watson-powered interactive whiteboards

The future of the workplace begins now: technology ascends from meeting tool to ‘meeting participant’ Companies Bring New Efficiencies to the Workplace and Drive Better Employee Engagement 

Ricoh Europe, Munich, 17 February 2017 – IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Ricoh have announced a major shake-up in the corporate meeting room with Ricoh’s new cognitive-enabled interactive whiteboard which uses IBM’s Watson intelligence and voice technologies to actively support people in meetings by responding to commands, taking notes and actions and even translating into other languages.

The Intelligent Workplace Solution leverages IBM Watson IoT and Ricoh’s easy-to-use interactive whiteboards to change the way teams meet and collaborate through new intuitive features that can be accessed using natural voice. It makes sure that Watson doesn’t just listen, but is an active meeting participant, using real-time analytics to help guide discussions so teams can make faster, better and more informed decisions. 

Most companies find that the majority of information shared and discussed during meetings may be lost or forgotten. Ricoh is incorporating this new powerful, innovative solution into its broader set of service offerings to help customers continually improve meeting collaboration and productivity. Likewise, IBM sees a range of more complex smart meeting support functions in the future, thanks to Watson’s learning capabilities.

“Our goal is to provide employees and businesses with effective and smart tools that automate administrative office processes and empower people to focus on tasks and ideas that drive business value,” said Hidetsugu Nonaka, Corporate Senior Vice President, Ricoh Company, Ltd. “Together with IBM, we’ve created the Intelligent Workplace Solution to revolutionize meetings. Instead of being a screen, the cognitive-enabled, interactive whiteboard powered by Watson will be an active participant capturing meeting notes and action items, and building bridges between employees at different locations. The new solution is poised to be a cornerstone of meetings today and in the future.”    

Features of the new cognitive-enabled whiteboard solution include:

  • Simple, global voice control of meetings: once a meeting begins, any employee, whether in-person or located remotely in another country, can easily control what’s on the screen, including advancing slides, all through simple voice commands.
  • Translation of the meeting into another language: the Intelligent Workplace Solution can translate speakers’ words into several other languages and display them on screen or in transcript.
  • Easy-to-join meetings: with the swipe of a badge the Intelligent Workplace Solution can log attendance and track key agenda items to ensure all key topics are discussed.
  • Ability to capture side discussions: during a meeting, team members can also hold side conversations that are displayed on the same whiteboard.

“Collaborative workforces are at the heart of successful business. The challenge is bringing disparate teams together and then enabling them to be productive,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, Watson IoT. “With IBM’s Watson IoT technologies, Ricoh’s interactive whiteboards don’t just guide meetings; they foster an open exchange of ideas and make it easy for teams to work in partnership and bringing meetings to life.”

IBM is installing more than 80 Ricoh interactive whiteboards in its new global Watson IoT headquarters in Munich, Germany. This will enable IBM’s product development teams in Munich to hold productive meetings with colleagues in other locations like Japan, Brazil and the U.S.

For details on the Intelligent Workplace Solution, please visit www.ricoh-europe.com/ibm-watson. Also, follow Ricoh on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Search #RicohMakesInfoWork for additional content related to Ricoh’s offerings.

Across the globe, IBM is working with more than 6,000 clients, across industries, to help them truly realize the benefits of IoT. For more information on IBM Watson IoT, please visit www.ibm.com/iot or follow @IBMIoT on Twitter.

Contact information 
Jonathan Jessop Batty IBM Media Relations, IBM Watson IoT 
+44 7880 086571, jonathanb@uk.ibm.com

Jack Gibson Senior Corporate Communications Executive, Ricoh Europe PLC
+44 203 033 3766, jack.gibson@ricoh-europe.com

About Ricoh 
Ricoh is a global technology company that has been transforming the way people work for more than 80 years. Under its corporate tagline – imagine. change. – Ricoh continues to empower companies and individuals with services and technologies that inspire innovation, enhance sustainability and boost business growth. These include document management systems, IT services, production print solutions, visual communications systems, digital cameras, and industrial systems.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in approximately 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2016, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,209 billion yen (approx. 19.6 billion USD).

For more information on Ricoh, please visit www.ricoh-europe.com.

About IBM’s Global Momentum in Watson IoT 
As part of a global investment of $3 billion USD designed to bring Watson cognitive computing to IoT, IBM has allocated more than $200 million USD to its global Watson IoT headquarters in Munich. The investment, one of the company’s largest ever in Europe, is in response to escalating demand from customers who are looking to transform their operations using a combination of IoT and Artificial Intelligence technologies. Currently IBM has 6,000 clients globally who are tapping Watson IoT solutions and services, up from 4,000 just 8 months ago.

IBM’s Watson IoT headquarters will be home to the first ever cognitive IoT Collaboratories –hands-on industry labs where clients and partners can work together with IBM’s 1,000 Munich-based researchers, engineers, developers and business experts to drive collaborative innovation in the automotive, electronics, manufacturing, healthcare and insurance industries. It will also benefit from an interactive Client Experience Center equipped with the latest technologies to showcase the possibilities of Watson IoT in cars, buildings, factories and appliances. IBM has deep knowledge and expertise in the automotive industry with dedicated automotive practices in all major vehicle producing countries, software solutions and business consultants with deep industry know-how.

For more information on IBM, please visit www.ibm.com. For more information about IBM Watson IoT, please visit www.ibm.com/iot.

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