South By Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals “offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies” as the organizers describe it. SXSW began in 1987 in Austin, Texas, when a group of musicians came together to discuss the future of entertainment and media. Fast forward from the first event with 150 registrants in 1987, to 2016 where over 231,000 people attended and participated in the 10-day event. The music festival has grown to also include Film, Interactive, Education, Food, Comedy, Fashion, Health, and other tracks.
Megan Smith, CTO of the United States, discussing the history of great women in science and technology[/caption]
The festival includes keynotes, panel sessions, exhibitors, performances, and interactive lounges. During my time at SXSW, I focused on attending high impact sessions and meeting the most exciting startups. Unfortunately, I did not get to see Barack or Michelle Obama speak about how the government would like to tap into using tech and data to solve national problems - an important shift for the tech industry. You can see the president's entire session here.
The biggest trend I noticed was Virtual Reality (VR). Virtually every session and lounge I attended included Virtual Reality (and Augmented Reality).
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Here, I am “painting” at McDonald’s Lounge in downtown Austin.
Kevin Cornish, Stephen Sebring, and Anarghya Vardhana discussing how they think Virtual Reality will change fashion[/caption]
Virtual Reality filmmaker Kevin Cornish, photographer Stephen Sebring, and San Francisco-based investor Anarghya Vardhana discussed why they think Virtual Reality is going to change fashion. With billions of investment dollars going towards this technology, the panel made it clear that VR is not just a passing fad. “Not doing VR would be like not doing mobile years ago,” Vardhana explained.
The speakers revealed that some VR goggles are being redesigned to track the eye movements of users, similar to Google Glass, allowing them to project the users' interests and render relevant ads.
Below are some of the exciting startups I met that relate to aging and tech:
- Andaman: Andaman is a Synchronized Health Record within your circle of trust.
- Eskin: Xenoma's e-skin allows you to monitor motion, breathing, pressure, body temperature, and other functions.
- Iris Plans: Iris Plans is a personalized healthcare planning platform.
- Mend: Mend is a Dallas based health-tech startup that delivers on-demand urgent medical care for the whole family - adults and children - right to your doorstep.
- Seremedi: CareScriptions® Seremedi’s flagship product is an interactive personalized patient management solution that provides an innovative approach enabling doctors to extend optimum pre- and post-procedure care to patients, wherever they are.
- Telemedicine Magazine: Telemedicine Magazine is a new publication that charts healthcare’s digital future, linking practicing clinicians - the backbone of our healthcare system - with the tech innovators who are turning the system on its head.
- Televero: Televero creates mobile applications for patients and their caregivers that enable clinicians to provide better post acute care & better manage chronic conditions.
- TupeloLife: TupeloLife is an international health and wellness technology company that cultivates lifestyle changes that matter via a network of wearable devices, apps, and software solutions that enable programs to provide an immersive and impactful health experience.
- WAY: WAY is a smart skin care service tailored to you.
- HERO: HERO is a connected ecosystem that monitors and manages medications for you and your loved ones.
- Sengled: Sengled is revolutionizing the lighting industry with smart bulbs that transform your house into a connected home.
- The Micro 3D: The first true consumer 3D printer.
- Yes Health: Yes Health is the first all-mobile diabetes prevention program designed to empower people everywhere to start living healthier, happier lives.
- Ottobock: Ottobock is the global leader in prosthetic and orthotic technology.
- Whil: Whil is the leader in digital mindfulness, yoga, and leadership training.
- Zikto: Zikto is a wearable posture and activity coach.
- BrainCheck: BrainCheck allows you to track your brain health so you can check for significant changes.
- Entrim4D: Motion Headset for VR made by Samsung.
- White Inc.: Creating new experiences by linking reality and virtual.
Conference attendees mingle during a reception hosted by Google for Entrepreneurs, CODE2040, and Capital Factory
Other sessions I attended and interesting reads:
IBM Cognitive Studio: An immersive showcase packed with eye-opening experiences and curated content.
Parsons School of Design: Wearable technology and functional garments.
Virtual reality steals the show at SXSW (Chicago Tribune).
Overall, I enjoyed seeing all the excitement around the tech community at SXSW. I think the government’s involvement made this year a landmark year for SXSW and I’m excited to see what the event will be like in 2017.