SXSW: Innovations in Media

By Mitch Seguin

Along with 500,000 music, film, and tech buffs, the TribalScale team travelled to Austin for the 23rd annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival. Every year, some of the most noteworthy apps on the market make their debut here, making March a huge month for innovation in the tech space. This year, one of the most evident themes at SXSW is how technology is disrupting the media space. Here are a few examples:

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Anchor is an application that empowers users to develop podcasts in the palm of their hand. The new app had a great presence at SXSW this year, disrupting the traditional radio industry by removing the barriers of recording and production quality. Anchor takes the collaborative aspect of podcasts to a new level, enabling strangers to co-produce on a common topic from remote locations. With this collaborative process, broadcasting companies can leverage the Anchor platform as a means to solicit public opinion and further conversationalize the broadcasting process. Anchor is empowering any and everyone to broadcast their views in collaboration to audiences of every size.

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2. VR/AR

As virtual reality demos have ramped up at this year’s SXSW, we have seen an increased range of applications for the relatively new platform. Across the spectrum of the media industry, VR is redefining how we produce, distribute, and consume visual media. At this year’s SXSW, we’ve witnessed a great increase in the accessibility of VR. When Google released it’s Google Cardboard VR headset, as well as instructions for building your own, the tech giant made it easy to experience VR at any budget. McDonald’s is following suit by incorporating Happy Meal boxes that can be folded into Happy Goggles, McDonalds’ version of Google Cardboard. The pilot program for Happy Goggles is taking place in Northern Sweden, with a rollout of 3500 of the cardboard goggles across 14 restaurants. McDonald’s was in attendance at this year’s SXSW, undoubtedly considering various partners to help create, produce, and deliver their VR experience to the masses.

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3. Service

Service made a special SXSW appearance, dedicating a portion of their app to facilitating the festival itself. The app in its everyday use helps consumers settle customer service disputes with organizations that have failed them. At SXSW, Service facilitated access to many events by leveraging their staff to wait in line, reserve spots at events, and generally create a seamless festival experience. With the implications of the technology discussed, the media industry becomes more of two-way conversation every day. As audiences take on more of a consumer role in the media industry, individuals will begin utilizing companies like Service when they are dissatisfied with their experience.

Although we attended SXSW with the intention of staying on the cutting edge of the tech industry, we quickly recognized the true value of this gathering of leaders. It is not to be the first to experience virtual reality, or to be in attendance for the launch of the next unicorn. It is rather, to be part of a community dedicated to sharing knowledge and information that will shape the future of how we interact, consume, and participate in the world around us.

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