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South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWI) Highlights and Tech Trends

by Melissa Smich on March 22, 2010

sxsw-2010This past week, geeks around the world united in Austin Texas for South by South West Interactive (SXSWI). This year I was lucky enough to join Ricky Lam, Software Developer, Music Blogger and SXSW veteran, as part of the team in attendance.

The SXSW Interactive Festival, in its seventeenth year, hit an all-time-high with attendance growth over 40 per cent over last year, and the first year ever that the Interactive part of the festival has surpassed attendance of SXSW Music.

And the growth rate was quite apparent, as they didn’t seem to expect nor know how to manage such large crowds of people. My biggest concern for next year is how they will accommodate said growth rate.

But there were lots of toys, previews, and demos that would make any tech geek salivate. The three main trends that really stuck out are as follows:qr-code

QR Codes: brilliant idea, so much opportunity and creative ways to use it. While they didn’t catch on at the conference, I still think they will take off here in North America. The possibilities and usage for them are virtually limitless and I’m a fan of any technology that can contribute to the end of the traditional business card.

Location Sharing Services: The big debate was Fourquare vs Gowalla: Gowalla, like WordPress, started in Texas and also won a lot of awards at the conference. Foursquare, however, has five times the users and with the Twitter capabilities, it’s the clear winner in my eyes.

But they are all winners in the grand scheme of things, no matter which location-sharing tool one used, to me, they beat out the other social tools. The message was the same across the board: “find me on foursquare.” Where were u? Should have checked Foursquare. This is lame, where’s the next party? Refer to Foursquare. Even Scoble told me to refer to my foursquare to catch him for an interview the following day.

3D Televisions: Sony seems to be the only one really banking on this, and as its getting a lot of notice, I still feel as though its simply too novel for me. If this goes well, then they will be known for pioneering this step in televisions’ evolution. At the end of the day, this is one serious roll of the dice and only time will tell.

Let me know what trends you were gunning for? Which do you think win the overall SXSW top tech toy prize? We want to hear from you, so leave a comment below.

Related posts:

  1. SXSW Highlights: Featured In Techvibes
  2. South By Southwest Interactive 2009
  3. Does SXSWI
  4. 5 Things I learned from SXSW Interactive 2011
  5. SXSW Primer – Top 6 Things to Pack for SXSW Interactive 2011


SmartSmith April 16, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Can anyone go or is this invite-only?

PotsNPans March 23, 2011 at 10:13 AM

I saw a bunch of media accounts this year portraying SXSWI as a music festival. Are they trying to downplay the tech aspects?

WrigleyF June 13, 2011 at 10:20 PM

No, SXSWI is as tech-rich as ever. But if you’ve got great music why not use it as a selling point?

Stoddard August 10, 2011 at 10:18 AM

I was salivating just reading this article; I’d probably go into a full meltdown were I to actually attend this event.

Randy5 October 16, 2011 at 9:25 PM

@SmartSmith: You need to pay to be able to go. More info here:

OhDonna October 25, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Melissa, you sure were right about QR codes catching on. I see them everywhere I look now.

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