This just may be the favorite time of year for “Interactives”… the 5 days in March that are South by Southwest. Granted, the “movies” and the “musics” love it too!
If you want to have your finger on the pulse of what next, what’s shiny and new, just join the throngs in Austin as everyone intensely experiences the sights and sounds of the bustling digitals tapping into this target rich environment of opportunity.
Each year the festival evolves, the first year we went was 2009 and “Becoming Social” was all the rage just a year after Twitter debuted. Over the years you can see what’s hot an what’s not through the technology being spotlighted, the sessions being shared and how the sponsors relevantly activate their brands to this savvy tastemaker audience.
This year’s version of “what’s next” includes the highly political tone of the day… there’s no getting around the change in America this year and its reflection across all media and mediums.
As always, we like to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening, so here is a handy hit list of the trends that are making SXSW 2017 another one to remember
Here are the highlights captured from the link above- worth the full read!
Why it matters: Artificial Intelligence has become ubiquitous as more and more applications are found for this still-emerging technology. Everyday uses—from gesture-based interfaces to specialist applications like psychiatric care bots with emotion recognition—stand alongside massive modeling projects that predict future events with increasing accuracy. Can the impact of these advances be mitigated with radical policy shifts, such as the movement for universal basic income?
CAN VR GROWTH MATCH THE HYPE?
Why it matters: Is the cart before the horse? Development of VR technology and hardware is moving rapidly, but where’s the killer app or change in the ecosystem that will trigger the much-anticipated mass adoption when a real VR setup is still out of reach of the average consumer?
CONNECTING TO THE NEXT GENERATION
Why it matters: “Young people only want cool technology” is a widely-held sentiment, but a deeper exploration of Gen Y and Z’s desires and needs reveals a search for ways to meaningfully impact the world in this era of global citizenship and real-time social media presence.
THE DATA OWNERSHIP DEBATE INTENSIFIES
Why it matters: Modern policymakers face tough tech-related challenges, few more so than regulating who owns what in a world made of 1s and 0s. Consumer data protection concerns are approaching crisis, with detailed tracking going beyond the online realm and into the physical.
EMPOWERMENT & INCLUSION
Why it matters: 2017 is a critical moment for unheard voices around the world, with issues of inclusion rising to prominence throughout the political spectrum. The effects of decisions in this sphere can be felt more broadly than ever before as businesses and communities discover the socio-economic impact they can have.
LICENSING AND ROYALTY ISSUES
Why it matters: The complexity of the music licensing and streaming landscape intensifies. Amidst calls for more transparency, new ideas like blockchain distribution, global rights databases, and automatic licensing platforms hope to steady the ship for artists, rightsholders, labels, publishers, and services. Meanwhile, regime change in the U.S. brings even more uncertainty.
NEW SCHOOL CONTENT GOES OLD SCHOOL
Why it matters: While many are talking about all of the new-school ways of creating and distributing content, such as streaming services, torrent distribution, VR and drones (to name a few) some are standing out from the pack by looking backwards—using old-school analog techniques like arthouse theatrical release strategies, education distribution, and shooting on film—to get their content noticed. Musicians, labels, and record stores are making real money from surging vinyl record sales, even tapping into cassette tape nostalgia.
Why it matters: A new form of politics has entered the spotlight since the controversial 2016 Presidential election, and along with it new challenges arise alongside the old. Fake news and alternative facts seek to veil serial scandals and a polarized society, and minorities become increasingly marginalized as policy swings towards isolationism. How will this affect social progress, technology, and creative industries, and what paths will remain open in this uncertain future?
REDEFINING HEALTH AND MEDICINE
Why it matters: From self-monitoring devices to man-modified DNA, the human body is the new ground zero for disruption and innovation. Advances in prosthetics and implants stand alongside the promise of gene editing, while AI and telemedicine loom above the current care provision paradigm.
Why it matters: Around the world and in almost every sector, more and more industries are absorbing startups and startup-inspired approaches, driving more innovation in house via hackathons and corporate incubators. Small and innovative products grow fast while options and solutions are tested quickly with no fear of failure. Organization structures are becoming flatter with greater transparency in the workplace resulting in more adaptability as HR now relies on more qualitative over quantitative feedback for employee performance.
THE TECH AND MARKETING MARRIAGE
Why it matters: All roads from Silicon Valley lead to Madison Avenue as the marketing industry rushes to assimilate every advance in big data. Large firms are rebranding themselves as tech-first companies to take advantage of the deep insight that data collection can offer into the habits of fans and consumers.
Why it matters: New innovations continue to dismantle traditional approaches to moving people (and products) from one place to another. The impact is already visible with autonomous ground and air vehicles: what are the next steps, and what will the effect of the realisation of massive projects like hyperloop transport networks and the movement towards renewable energy be?
As we watch and learn from the best of the best, it is personally exciting to see the intersection of technology in the continually emerging digital health indusry and what’s next for transportation in America… now’s the time to press forward!