Identifying opportunity at the speed of sound

Our hope is to inspire and empower teams to build conversationally aware capabilities that can transform industries

Identifying opportunity at the speed of sound

By the time AT&T formed its Opportunity Discovery Department (ODD) inside of Bell Labs in 1995 to assess the impact of market trends, chat technology was already hitting the mainstream. ODD informed senior AT&T executives the company was missing out. Newcomer AOL had taken only two years to reach 50MM users. By comparison, it had taken AT&T 75 years to reach the same milestone.

ODD was staffed with scientists and engineers who understood how quickly new technologies could change business assumptions. But AT&T’s success in its core business made accepting and operationalizing new technologies challenging.

Today, the largest companies in the world have learned from history and now combine scenario planning with hands-on experimentation. They have hackathons, venture arms, incubators and new ODD-like groups that attempt to engage and embrace emerging technologies before they have 50MM users.

Without a doubt, it is the best time in recent history for new technology entrants and industry titans to work together. Everybody now understands what can happen in two years.

At Gridspace, we have had the tremendous fortune of working with partners who not only want to understand technology-enabled services, but shape those services in collaboration with their inventors.

For young technology companies looking to collaborate with leaders in financial services, you couldn’t possibly ask for better teams than the ones we’ve worked with: Bloomberg Beta and Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator (now accepting applications).

In the last year, we have learned a lot about the multi-dimensional challenges faced by financial institutions (FIs)—from regulation and risk to new customer expectations. We have been amazed by the leadership teams inside these FIs and their technologically minded approach to meeting new market realities.

At the same time, we have come to appreciate the unique situations FIs face when it comes to addressing these challenges with new technologies. Every “what if” must have a perfect answer. Every use case must work at incredible scale.

Accordingly, we at Gridspace wanted to provide a better way to support FIs and other large organizations with their mission-critical operations. Today, we are very excited to announce our first application programming interface (API) for conversation awareness: Gridspace Sift API.

This API will better equip technical teams inside of large FIs to rapidly develop new communication systems ahead of full system integrations. By building a direct pathway from experimentation to implementation, our hope is to inspire and empower teams to build conversationally aware capabilities that can transform industries.

As Gridspace continues on its journey to reshape the communications landscape, we will continue to ask the biggest “what if” questions we can. Make sure you do the same.

To get started with Gridspace Sift API, please check out our new documentation at



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