5 Takeaways from SXSW 2017

SXSW - Rainn Wilson


Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, South by Southwest has not missed a year in showing off the very best of interactive, film, and music industries. The conferences host thought-provoking sessions, share innovation, and allow creators to develop a network among their peers. This year SXSW, on March 10 – 19, 2017 once again gave a platform to show off new and exciting ideas.

Social Media

Social media plays a huge part in the everyday life of consumers. Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have become huge avenues for businesses to reach a broad range of consumers, but knowing how to utilize these platforms correctly can make or break a marketing plan. At SXSW there were several talks on how to leverage the various social media outlets to spread brand awareness and promote customer loyalty. One tactic shared through several discussions is to create emotional narratives through digital content, like gifs. The other side of social media is data. Companies can collect data to predict trends in consumer behavior, and learn more about how a product is received.

Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) isn’t just making a comeback, its brought a friend named Augmented Reality (AR). VR and AR have evolved over the last several years and become more accessible to creators and users alike. Through headsets like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear, wearers can enter immersive landscapes and journey across the world from the safety of their home.  With the popularity of Pokémon Go, AR shot into the mainstream and showed new ways smartphones could be used. When VR and AR married, they had Mixed Reality (MR), which is the best of both worlds. MR uses the concept of a virtual world to project digital characters or object into a physical space just like AR. The evolution of VR, AR, and MR open up a huge realm of possibilities for creators to create interactive landscapes similar to our own.

Wearable Tech

Smart apparel could be the new fashion trend and might even partner with VR and AR. Stepping away from the bulky headpiece like the Samsung Gear, wearable tech can be even smaller by not just attaching to your clothes, but becoming part of your daily dress. Smart watches were just the tip of the iceberg for this emerging market. There are practical applications that can be made for Smart apparel too such as tracking runners during a race.

A.I. and Robots

Each year our world looks more and more like a science fiction movie with smartphones in nearly every pocket, an internet that connects the world, and autonomous self-thinking machines right on the horizon. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has made significant leaps, and robotics aren’t far behind as more companies like Hanson Robotics unveil a nearly human looking android. The use of A.I. is becoming more prevalent and accessible through programs like IBM Watson. Using IBM Watson to create chatbots can help revolutionize a company’s customer service. Robots can take over manual and dangerous jobs, or become a companion for kids.

Diversity in the Tech World

There has been a lot of talk over the last several years about diversity in the workspace. The conversation has only grown larger as more businesses and entrepreneurs recognize the benefits of having a culturally diverse team. Instead of focusing on the perfect match, opening to differences will prevent innovation from becoming stagnant and will cultivate new ideas instead.