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Emerging Tech Trends Featured at 2018 SXSW Festival

Emerging Tech Trends Featured at 2018 SXSW Festival


March 23, 2018

South By Southwest, the sprawling, all-encompassing festival in Austin, Texas, which covers movies, music and technology, has become one of the most anticipated conferences for a broad spectrum of industry professionals. Known for exhibiting new technology and showcasing emerging trends, this year’s event kept expectations as high as  year’s past. Here’s this year’s most popular trends presented at SXSW.


Artificial intelligence received a good deal of attention considering it is the foundation of tech-advancing insights and popular conspiracy theories. Despite Elon Musk’s urgent warning of AI’s looming danger declaring “AI is far more dangerous than nukes”, plenty of useful information was presented at the festival. This includes AI related topics like service, support and improving customer experience. For example, Juice Pharma Worldwide dove into the trends game with some instructive videos on several topics, including AI. G. Kofi Annan, digital strategist and technologist,  spoke about how AI continues to impact the content creation landscape.   He pointed out that 80 percent of content creators use AI technology in the creation process. Another big topic was AI powered assistants, and the way they are redefining home life as well as things like retail, travel and all-around convenience.


The last few years of SXSW have been big on Bitcoin.  However, this year has shifted towards blockchain, the new era of cryptocurrency. Blockchain is the distributed, verifiable ledger that powers cryptocurrency and thousands of other applications outside of money. This year, many industries have already utilized the blockchain application. In fact, blockchain technology has recently been introduced to the commercial real estate industry. CRE executives have found blockchain can potentially transform core CRE operations such as property transactions like purchase, sale, financing and leasing. Additionally, healthcare startups have employed it to disburse and verify patient records, governments consider using it for passport control, and arts and entertainment organizations are looking at applying it to rights management. Even transportation companies like Toyota are in on the fun by looking at how blockchain can be used in the future of the auto industry.


Bio-hacking had a more relevant presence at SXSW this year. In past year, bio-hacking using science of tech to affect biology hasn’t been the most popular trend among society considering its unethical stigma. Notable panels discussed how and why companies can introduce and provide alternative biohacking practices to company culture. Panelist also discussed how doing so improves problem-solving and critical thinking and enhances overall work experience. This year, bio-hacking has advanced with a broad range of applications. Companies like Illumina are leading the charge in what it means to roll out widespread genetic testing, and the impact it has on society. Meanwhile, other companies are looking at how 3D printing can help speed up the development of prosthetics.  


Over the past year, the evolution of the technology behind VR and its adoption has had much relevance. This year, SXSW panelist talked about the application of VR/AR into industries outside of gaming and entertainment. Companies like Google and The Washington Post are looking at how VR can change the concept of news and storytelling. Time+ Life VR, Framestore, and Stanford University have spent their time developing VR applications for various medicines such as the experience LUMEN, which helps children prepare for heart surgery.  Real estate companies have also ventured into the VR business. Companies like Robotic Imaging have developed VR tours of properties online, eliminating the difficulty of physical visits to properties. Also, speakers from Microsoft look at the possibility for augmenting perception through VR while discussing the challenges of advancing human senses and show demonstrations– quite interesting if you ask me.


SXSW remains as the place to discover the top trends that will define the creative landscape for the coming years. Overall, the event helps attendees discover the artists, formats, platforms and  technologies that will be mainstream in upcoming years. The list of innovative technology companies continues to grow at SXSW. Several of the more alluring ones we’re keeping an eye on are Cushion, Goalsetter and Pawame.

Chief Technology Officer
Zachary Rosenberg is responsible for overseeing all technical aspects of the company and its clients. He works with executive management to grow the company through the use of technological resources and works to attain the company’s strategic goals. Rosenberg also manages client relations from a technical standpoint, conducts research for the enhancement of our products, and development tasks.

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