Nuance Communications, the Burlington, Mass.-based speech recognition and natural language technology company, is bringing its Seattle teams together into a unified regional base. Previously, half of the company’s 250 employees in the city worked at 505 1st St., but now everyone will work in the Exchange Building, at 821 2nd Ave., where the other half of Nuance’s Seattle employees have been working already for several years.
“We are excited to be moving in with our colleagues,” said senior director of engineering David Kay, who heads Nuance’s keyboard innovation team and is among the Nuance employees moving to the Exchange Building. He called it a “sensible move to bring us all under one roof.”
Nuance is also the owner of Swype, maker of touchscreen keypads that allow users to swipe a finger across letters to spell words rather than typing out each letter individually. (Nuance acquired the Seattle startup in 2011.) Swype’s employees are part of Nuance’s keyboard innovation team, which is moving. Coming with them are Nuance’s connected car team, Nuance’s customer care innovations teams, and researchers from its language modeling division. They will be joining colleagues in the Exchange Building who work in Nuance’s enterprise division, concentrating on customer engagement and communications.
“We’ve also had an open-space philosophy for a long time,” Kay said. “The Exchange Building is a space that has that open feel. You can see some of the structure of the building, some of the beams. On the entrance floor…there’s a large town hall that will fit all the employees together, which is perfect for company-wide meetings.”
Sprinkled among Nuance’s Exchange Building offices are collaborative work spaces where employees can meet, discuss, and work together, Kay said. There is also a special innovation think space that Nuance calls the “Think Tank,” where it sends people to foster creative thinking, another plus for the move, Kay said.
Beyond the potential for more collaboration across the company’s different divisions, Kay is also excited about the move because it puts Nuance in a more central downtown location.
Nuance already had two floors in the Exchange Building and it has acquired two more floors to accommodate the teams that are moving, according to Kay. This additional space leaves room for growth, since Nuance plans to hire in the coming year, he said, though he declined to specify numbers or the particular teams that Nuance is looking to expand.