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SXSW Interactive Festival 2016

Here at Comms Express we have been watching and reading with interest the wonderful tech innovations coming out of South by Southwest - SXSW. 

Of course SXSW is not only about tech, added to the mix, and one of the other reasons it's so successful, is the unique blend of tech, music and film, offering up a smorgasbord of fun for those in attendance. It is always great predictor as to the next big thing as a platform for many innovations, for instance back in 2007 Twitter launched its micro-messaging app.

The 23rd annual SXSW Interactive Festival returned to Austin from Friday, March 11 through Tuesday, March 15. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2016 event featured five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology. 

President Barack Obama delivered the keynote speech at this year's SXSW about the need for technology to improve civic engagement. Stating that Technology can, "empower individuals to do things they could have never dreamed of before, but also empower folks who are very dangerous to spread dangerous messages.”

The President opened his talk by outlining how tech can improve lives.

“We can make government work better through technology” – “Tackle big problems in new ways” –

“Make sure we’re using big data, analytics, and technology to make civic participation easier."

So it came as no surprise that a merging of technology and policy is at the forefront of new ventures.

Here are some of our favourite tech to come out of SXSW this year.

KnowMe, co-created by filmmaker JJ Abrams and Moviefone co-founder Andrew Jarecki. It allows users to easily create and share short video clips by narrating over a selection of images.

Splash, which allows users to turn 10 photos into a 360 video they can share with friends and family.

McDonald’s Loft showcased a V-Artist virtual reality experience that transported attendees into a Happy Meal Box and inspired creativity. Reports suggested the installation was a huge hit and proved to be a lot of fun, creating a fully immersive virtual reality experience.

Samsung also pushed to bring VR to conference goers wherever they are via its #VRonDemand campaign and provide portable VR experiences. Gear VR proved to be a great example of making virtual reality accessible to the average consumer.

By tweeting at #VRonDemand and then responding to their invite via DM, the Samsung Mobile US team delivered a Samsung Gear VR experience to your location.

Sony’s Future Lab Program, which showcased the latest innovations from Sony, launching the N wearable at SXSW. The N wearable is shaped like a neck collar so as to not hinder movement and  responds to pre-programmed audio commands and takes hands-free pictures.

Another great facet of SXSW are the summits and the full-day Online Harassment Summit was a great and much needed debate.

Roll on the 24th SXSW, we cannot see the influence of this great event and its role in innovation waning! We are also led to believe that the elaborate parties arranged by various startups stage increasingly to publicise their innovations and brands and to attract advertisers are also a hot ticket; a UK off-shoot sounds a great idea!

Until next time

About Steve Wilkin

Steve is the founder and Managing Director of Comms Express, he doesn't look old enough (he told us to put that) but has been in the Networking Industry for 24 years and counting. In that time he has seen the humble Network become one of the most crucial tools that any modern business has (just imagine your company without one).

He's a family man with a wife and two young Daughters to keep him in line, also he's an avid Spurs supporter (well no one's perfect).

You can follow Steve on Google+