SXSW has grown from its hometown roots as an Austin music festival into an internationally known event. As the festival has evolved, the interactive portion has become especially buzz-worthy. After all, it was at SXSWi that Twitter and Foursquare made their debuts.
Here’s a look back at some of the notable moments and trends from this year’s SXSW Interactive.
‘Big data’ was a big topic this year. Panels looked at how data trails that consumers leave in their wake can help marketers create more targeted interest; how predictive analytics can help companies make accurate and smart decisions; and how businesses can use big data to effectively reach a customer base.
With big data comes a host of other topics and innovations, including analytics and security. San Francisco-based Slantrange won an Accelerator award for its remote sensing and agronomy technology to help farmers quantify all the elements that go into successful yields. Loopd Analytics, also out of San Francisco, was an Accelerator finalist for its event and conference analytics technology.
On the security side, Disconnect won an Innovation award during SXSWi for its privacy and security software, developed by former Google engineers and a consumer- and privacy-rights attorney. Other innovations that made a splash included Digify, which lets you see if your files have been viewed or forwarded, and Virtru, an email add-on that encrypts email messages.
There’s been a huge growth of new economic modes, from the sharing economy to mobile payments.
Artificial intelligence was also a big topic during this year’s SXSWi. There were some eerily science fiction-like demonstrations, including a “mind clone” created by Martine Rothblatt, CEO of the biotech firm United Therapeutics.
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