South by Southwest is one of the annual events to not miss to discover the future digital uses. It was a great American show where the major players of the Web, start-ups and professionals were gathered to discuss and reflect on current issues. And it was in the city of Austin, Texas, that all these people converged, over 30 000 participants. Social democratization was well on its way!
This year, events and conferences focused on social television, Internet music, video games, social media marketing, mobility, venture capital, law and the Web and so on. The atmosphere at SXSW is atypical: you can cross the homeless turned into Internet terminals or a young woman from Fedex with a coat full of batteries! You can see or experience things that you do not see anywhere else. For example, I gave my person participating in a crowd surfing experience (see below)!
But these five days were not relaxing! Indeed, this festival is a marathon: all participants were running between each conference to discover the latest trends and applications that will radically change the way we live and communicate. It was during the previous editions that Twitter and Foursquare have emerged. SXSW is full of the latest innovations and applications. It is at South by Southwest that the future of the web emerges. This year we had expected announcements such as the arrival of Instagram on Android and unexpected news. It was at that time that I interviewed Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram. This application is fantastic and it can transform the most common walks the most into a quest of interesting images. The popularity of Instagram is without precedent even professional photographers use it. This is the case of Richard Koci Hernandez (his website here) which is the best advocate of Instagram with 27 million users. Kevin Systrom told me that the challenge for them [Instagram], was how to encourage people to shoot and share their photos without waiting for specific feedback.
The image returns to the heart of our concerns and the popularity of websites like Pinterest are the proof.
I attended many conferences very interesting such as the one of Ray Kurzweil on the expansion of our intelligence without limits. He shared his vision of the future with the audience. There was also the presentation of Danah Boyd on the power of fear in networked publics was absolutely fascinating. Tim O’Reilly, meanwhile, demonstrated the importance of building a sustainable business and a sustainable economy. Rainn Wilson’s presentation was the most hilarious of all the SXSW Interactive Festival (see link above).
Actors of social commerce were also present such as Bazaarvoice, recently listed on the Nasdaq, showing the boom of this phenomenon in the U.S. but also in Europe.The curation was also the focus of discussions with the presence of Scoop.it, a key player. (Www.scoopit.com). Scoop.it created a special SXSW Scoop.it and I had the chance to interview their CEO Guillaume Decugis (@ @ gdecugis scoopit).Scoop.it is based in San Francisco but it is a French project!
SXSW was also the parade of big names of the web with the presence of Google, IBM, Bing and Facebook who had their own stands or lounge. Facebook, meanwhile, has taken this opportunity to highlight the Timeline (or chronological log).
Here I am with my model Todd Watson, Social Media and Search Marketing Manager, IBM.
Goodbye IBM and Todd Watson!
The Megatrends of the festival:
The application that everyone was talking at SXSW was Highlight. This application lets you know if a friend, a friend of your friends or someone who shares the same interests as you is close to where you are. To do this, this application relies exclusively on Facebook and GPS on your smartphone. I also interview the teams to Highlight:
Other major trends of this festival SXSW 2012 apart Highlight, were Local Mind and Forecast. Local Mind is an application asking people already in one location what do they think about it and how is the atmosphere. I downloaded the application and it is absolutely incredible. The collective intelligence at its best! (Here’s the video below)
Forecast was also one of the biggest trends this year. Forecast allows publishing what you will do tonight / tomorrow and your friends can choose whether to accompany you click on “me too”.
In addition, PepsiCo has initiated a very astonishing project, by providing participants with a digital pen and a notebook. Anything written in this notebook is scanned by the pen and it is transcribed as data which will then be exploited by Pepsico. So how does it work concretely?
Finally, Isis, a new American service was revealed in preview at South by Southwest. Isis is not yet commercially available and its release in the U.S. market is expected this summer. This service can turn a smartphone equipped with NFC technology into a virtual wallet containing credit and loyalty cards. Link interview here:
The winner of this festival was Cerealize, a start-up that won Startups Bus 2012.Cerealize offers the ability to customize the ingredients in its cereal boxes for breakfast. The customization is orchestrated by a highly visual interface and everything is delivered directly at home. Interview of finalists below:
To conclude on these five days of the South by Southwest Interactive festival, we talked about new applications for smartphones that reveal, in a particular place the people who share the same interests as us. We also talked about collective intelligence (with LocalMind implementation for example), we talked about how new technologies are revolutionizing our institutions, how we interact, learn and communicate. Anyway, we talked about the future in a completely unbelievable atmosphere punctuated by conferences and parties like this:
To find the best moments of SXSW Interactive 2012, here is a powerpoint summary of this extraordinary and unusual festival.