Saddle Up: SXSW Is Here Once Again

Katie Blair

Thousands of people flooding into Austin along with the sweet smell of BBQ and chatter on the latest happenings in music, film and tech can mean only one thing – SXSW is here once again. For tech enthusiasts, our sights have been set on the SXSW Interactive showcase in preparation for the latest innovations that will infiltrate the market. So, what are we seeing from this year’s event? Below are a few hot technologies we can’t get enough of.

Virtual Reality

Much like CES, VR has dominated the conversation at SXSW. While top VR players like Oculus  highlighted the latest in its VR technology, other brands chose to leverage the unique characteristics of VR as a PR and marketing tactic. Take, for example, NASA. America's space used VR to demonstrate advancements in the space program, broadcasting to everyone that NASA is indeed thriving. Other companies like IBM chose to use VR to draw visitors into its virtual cycling experience while McDonald’s transported attendees into a Happy Meal box.

Robots and A.I.

Robots and A.I. are quickly becoming a part of the mainstream consumer’s everyday dialogue. From autonomous cars to robot assistants, this technology is making our lives easier and more productive. Jibo, the world’s first social robot for the home, is one technology that stood out this year. A companion for people at home, Jibo is A.I at its finest. Not only does it remind you of the day’s appointments and update calendars, but it will also take pictures, read stories to your kids and manage your entire smart home. But not so fast, those interested in Jibo will have to join a waiting list because this family friendly robot is sold out.


Source: used under CC license.

Smart Cities

The U.S. Department of Transportation may have kicked off this trend with its Smart Cities Challenge. Loads of U.S. cities jumped at the chance to receive up to $40 million in funding to increase technological transportation advances within their region. Finalists of the challenge were announced at SXSW and included Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California. The competition paved the way to SXSW Interactive where we saw companies like View showcase an IoT window pane and Mobileye demonstrate its Shield +™ driver assistance and safety technology.

As usual, SXSW Interactive did not disappoint. What were some of your favorite highlights from the event?

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