The robots are taking over.
A number of sessions and attendees spent a good deal of time talking about how robots will be integrated into our every day lives. And a group of protestors wandered the streets yelling “I say Robot, you say No-Bot.” Seriously. Read more here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/03/14/sxsw-robot-ai-protest-artificial-intelligence/24777871/ Audi has even already developed a self-driving automobile.
Meerkat. Super. Meerkat. Meerkat. Super.
If you don’t know what these are, you better find out. Meerkat allows you to stream live video to your twitter followers. About two hours before the start of SXSW Interactive, Twitter cut off Meerkat from its social graph. This was big news in Austin. Super is a new app from Biz Stone, founder of Twitter. Download it, you’ll get it right away.
The people are really, really nice.
It’s no wonder Austin is the home to Ayelet Ronen.
Responsive design is sooooo 2014.
Well, not entirely. But there was overall concern that all responsive sites are starting to look alike. There was a general call to action to find ways to make each responsive site a little less templated, a little more individual.
The web is getting more visual.
The transition from the web as a text-based medium to a more visual one (video and images) continues, and is now stretching beyond video and images to 3-D effects, 2-D effects, virtual reality and augmented reality. Tools worth exploring to push these things include: Three.js, the Webvr API, the Gamepad API, Webgl, and, if you’re a designer, Blender, among others.
Using drones for good.
Drones were another major theme, particularly regarding ways to use them for good. The regulations are tricky, and using them is not so straightforward, but the possibilities are endless and there’s a large growing community of support, particularly around Boston. Incidentally, Tom Lerra is also obsessed with drones lately, if you share this interest, please reach out to him and chat.
The convergence of the browser and native continues.
Increasingly, everything you can do natively you can do in a browser. And users don’t distinguish between the two. They expect the high performance of native everywhere.
The Internet of Things is going to take a while.
Although the robots are apparently taking over, the promise of the Internet of Things is going to take a while. The average auto in the US is 11 years old. The average fridge is 14 years old. The type of startups that might dabble in building web-enabled stuff can’t wait a generation for meaningful revenue. This type of work is also not conducive to the traditional agile, iterative approach so many web development teams favor. You get one shot to embed interactivity into a real tangible thing. You can’t iterate on a fridge. It’s as much a manufacturing issue as a software development issue. Nevertheless, people are trying. If you want to explore how, or contemplate the possibilities for us or yourself, first visit: https://data.sparkfun.com/
Digital strategy? What digital strategy?
For more established companies like ourselves, the idea of a digital strategy is ever evolving. Everyone is struggling to determine how to adapt to tremendous change, as new changes emerge all around us. Don’t feel overwhelmed: learn with an open mind, and make your next best decision.
Do you want to stay at the Bates Motel?
A&E built a replica Bates Motel, complete with creepy sign, in the middle of downtown Austin. It was truly disturbing and wonderful at the same time. HBO also had a strong presence for Game of Thrones. And our friends at PBS made a nice impact with the PBS Anywhere lounge, well positioned near the entrance to the Austin Convention Center. http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/sxsw-game-of-thrones-bates-motel-activation-1201453225/
Who was that guy on the escalator?
Celebrities of all levels were crawling around Austin this past week. Russell Brand cancelled at the last minute, but Jimmy Kimmel, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell all made appearances. Ryan Gosling got a a lot of attention. It was kind of cool to spot Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) eating a healthy lunch at the airport. Biz Stone was also floating around looking suspiciously tan.