Beyond the actual SXSW festival, where the planned and serendipitous meetings drive, surprise and inspire, the value of attending has always been the insights into ‘what’s next’. SX has been the launch pad for many influential technologies, including Twitter in 2007, Foursquare in 2009 and Highlight and GroupMe in 2012.
Over the last year or so, a new approach began to establish dominance, a strategy where brands launch the product BEFORE the festival and use SX to activate, driving mass awareness and adoption. This year, it was obvious, with no real ‘tech’ break-outs, and the majority of the Brand activations were parties and lounges with RSVPs required (Twitter at #FEED, SalesForce at #CloudLounge, Klout at #KloutKrib, Mashable at #MashBash) and interactive experiences for Nike FuelBand, Leap Motion and the Ouya gaming console.
The keynotes often offer insights into upcoming trends, and this years’ focus on entreprenuralism indicates the slowing of the incremental shifts to technology, user experience and channels, and is a harbinger of an upcoming sea change, rooted in immersive multi-channel, user-directed and powered, deeply integrated experiences.
From community-driven space travel to open-source game development and shared personal data, the future is currently changing and shifting, and it is an incredibly exciting time to be in this universe!