South by SouthWest Interactive was a huge discovery for me when I first attended in 2011. Everything was new and incredible. This year, I’m every bit as excited about all the new ideas and technology, and SXSW has definitely delivered.
This year, I was selected to speak on a panel called “It’s Alive: Interactive Machines that Captivate”. South by Southwest has an intense selection process, so it was a huge honor for me. I was also excited to have accomplished co-panelists: Nathan Martin, CEO of Deeplocal, FK Funderburke from SapientNitro, Justin Bayer, founder of Welcome to College, and our moderator, Arundi Venkayya Cox, editor of Dayton B2B.
At SXSW, you never know how popular a session will be, but our room was full of people. I shared two of Real Art’s interactive machines, The Santa Claw and our Dip-A-Drip pitching machine for 7-Eleven. We had a lively discussion about the risks and rewards of interactive robotic projects, and each of us shared the ways other brands can develop campaigns that use these techniques. I was glad to see our panel discussion transition into a lot of great audience questions. I can’t think of any better way to kick off the SXSW experience. Our slideshow is available on Slideshare.
There are a lot of new ideas emerging this year, so I’m sharing a few favorites before heading out for a few more panels:
In-person Connections: Facebook connects many of us online. With the proliferation of smart phones that have geolocation tools, social apps are popping up that connect humans in the real world. The app Highlight is talked about a lot this year. Using GPS combined with a Facebook login, it shows you other people that are close by that share common interests. That is pretty handy at a large conference like this.
Data: There is still a lot of untapped potential in all the data generated by our online activities. Data visualization was an emerging trend last year. This week, Visual.ly announced the launch of their platform that allows anyone to easily create visualizations.
In case you’re not sure that data is an important focus:
“90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.” – IBM
Dynamic Pricing: The growing mobile market is opening opportunities for retailers to engage customers and draw them offline, as well as to enable dynamic pricing. It’s been mentioned in a lot of talks, and two focused on it. One was from the founder of Loopt.com, the other session featured Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Engagement Officer at Sears.
Transmedia: Storytelling through transmedia is a big theme this year. It represents the idea of storylines crossing platforms to reach fans in different ways, such as combining video with Twitter with an online chat. On Saturday, the producers of Bravo’s Top Chef shared the process behind creating the online Top Chef Last Chance Kitchen, where chefs could interact with an online audience for a chance to reappear on the show.
There are also a lot of creative promotions that aim to capture the attention of attendees. Here’s one, a twitter-connected vending machine that dispenses journals to anyone that follows @bohemianllc on Twitter.
I’m glad to still be here, finding new ideas and interesting people wherever I turn (some of them from Dayton!), and I’m headed back to more panels today to find more new technology to absorb.