||What it Means
|Our rating system includes: Watch, Experiment, Invest, Ignore.
||Who’s doing it today?
||Who will be impacted by this new technology if it comes to fruition.
||Insights and forecasts from our perspective.
|Gesture Based Interfaces. (Leap motion, Microsoft Kinnect)Our Call: Experiment
||Leap Motion, a small, $79 USB device launching in May allows users to control their computers using hand gestures in mid air. It’s able to sense individual finger movements for fine manipulation of objects and apps on screen
||Leap controllers have the potential to change the way we interact with our computers and will launch for Mac OS and Windows, immediately making the tech available to a wider audiences than Microsoft’s Kinect. Being able to physically interact with the digital will disrupt many software markets.
||They key to this disruption taking hold is developer support. High levels of developer support, though, or a major buy in from a CE vendor like Samsung for TV use will make or break Leap. Expect to see heavy interest from software vendors in the creative space like Adobe; Corel was running live demos at the event.
|3D Printing and Replicators (Makerbot, Factory.org)Our Call: Ignore
||A number of 3D printers were on display both in the demo hall, and including one brave entrepreneur who wore one on his neck at parties while it was successfully printing. Among the vendors include MakerBot, Factory.org and others.
||Every brand involved in electronics, consumer package goods, transportation, packaging, supply chain and beyond will be impacted as consumers start to act like producers.
||Although Altimeter is investing in a demo unit to trial, this market is still very young. We’ve identified business model opportunities for brand marketers, IP creators and owners of CAD diagrams, and supply chain of the composite and plastic materials needed to print. We believe a significant ecosystem is required before this is a ready market.
|Proximity Based Communications, Near Field Communications (NFC, Samsung)Our Call: Invest
||Austin was awash in proximity based interaction points this week such as the Samsung tectiles; one can imagine that these same pieces of real estate were occupied by QR codes in years past, though the QR was also readily present this as well and not dead. NFC-enabled badges, stickers and posters were everywhere.
||NFC, due to the potential for quick, almost passive interaction with a mobile device means potential for higher uptake, the problem? Not many devices yet support it and fewer users know what it does. This is still education time.
||Companies with NFC-enabled products hawked them hard – see Samsung entry below – but users’ have yet to process the idea that, beyond payments, using NFC as an event control point or trigger can usher in instrumented environments. This is a key Android differentiator that we’d like to see more manufacturers support.
|Collaborative Economy (Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar)Our Call: Experiment
||Sidecar, Uber, and Lyft were in full force in Austin this year showing how shared resources can make getting around. A great deal of attendees we spoke to used AirBNB to find local rooms and houses to rent, as many Austinites skipped down to avoid the fray.
||Austin, traditionally short on taxis and public transit – not to mention woefully unprepared for 20k+ visitors, is a perfect market to breed affinity for these tools. These services are disruptors to the taxi service, and hotel and hospitality space.
||We’ll see many, many more of these services before the market shakes out. If transport, a leading industry in terms of getting to market early, is an indicator, users will have more and more need for distinct value props as many more “me too” services come online. At SXSW Tesla made motions to offer their car as part of the Uber fleet.
|Android’s Rise (Samsung, Google)Our Call: Invest
||The Samsung marketing machine was working overtime at SXSW attempting to show that a superior experience is possible to the still-ubiquitous iPhones many were carrying. This is good for Samsung and arguably drives Android awareness and interest. Samsung demo’d their TV and Phones were interconnected.
||The awareness and interest in Android is great news for Google except that it comes from Samsung and, therefore, muddies the Android brand. That said, when users are shown extremely high levels of service – to wit, bike messengers delivering fresh batteries to Samsung device users – it’s hard to argue with this approach.
||The Samsung brand is beginning to define Android. This will be difficult for other brands playing in the Android ecosystem like HTC and even Google itself. We can see why there’s some concern from Mountain View around Samsung’s reign in Android. Not investing in Android as an app player or a hardware concern is no longer an option.
|Space Exploration (SpaceX)Our Call: Ignore
||One of the highlights of the show was Elon Musk’s keynote where he demonstrated the privatization of space flight. His famed quote resonated throughout the event: “I want to die on Mars, just not on impact”
||The obvious disruption is the impact to commercial airlines as well as government space programs. That said, the technology is out of reach for all but a very few, though the promise is inspiring.
||The featured Grasshopper had VTOL capabilities meaning these space capable vehicles could land and depart from regular airports. While exciting, there’s little brands can do to interact with this trend, unless you’re a direct partner.
|Augmented and Virtual Reality (Google Glass and Occulus Rift)Our Call: Watch
||We had many discussions about Google Glass and its implications with many individuals at SXSW. Main concern? How will it work and what will the etiquette be?
||Everyone from mobile device manufacturers to the purveyors of content on those devices will have to figure out how to play in the AR realm, we have not talked to anyone yet, either mobile developer, hardware player or content magnate that has a plan in mind. Too soon, they all say.
||We’re bullish on Google Glass and, while we’ve not yet received our Explorer units to demo, we think the market will be very receptive to technology that augments daily tasks and does it in a lightweight way. We see a market emerging for AR-centric content and interactions and brands should be ready to play.
|MicroMedia Video (Vine, Memoto)Our Call: Experiment
||One emerging technology, that could grow is the Vine app that enables iPhone users to create 6 second video clips and share online. To experience this yourself, see this real time gallery. We also saw a lot of discussion on the Memoto camera.
||Now that journalism has extended to all consumers and citizens, the simple addition of video can extend a rich media format to micro communications.
||Expect marketers to enable Vine related campaigns and marketing to condense from the 30 second spot, to the 6 second spot. Then again people may simply adopt it as a way to “lazy tweet” as videos are so short. Twitter’s backing will certainly help
|Quantified Self (Google Shoe, Nike)Our Call: Watch
||Last year Nike debuted FuelBand at SxSW, this year the technology was everywhere, including a show that quantified activity tracking and encouragement, including a hotly discussed show by Google Shoe that gave recommendations on your fitness activity.
||The traditional athletic manufacture industry is now inundated with tech companies getting involved.
To a lesser degree, health and fitness services and facilities now find that consumers are self-managing their health by using Google.
|We think this market is real and growing, but, much like we see in the enterprise space, a lot of data is getting created and the use cases for that data are lagging behind; further, this is a series of walled gardens that don’t talk with one another yet, and require user-lock in. Right now the data is dirty and not being aggregated into a way that can be digested.
|Memes (Grumpy Cat, Harlem Shake, Meme Generator)Our Call: Ignore
||Grumpy Cat live appearance, a number of meme generators, popular from the website Reddit. In particular, Edelman exec David Armano was prolific.
||Traditional marketing communication may not resonate in the high churn of digital conversations.Harlem Shake, pretty much over with this hip cool kid crowd. Our take? Good riddance.
||Real time marketing, while a buzzword, requires modern communicators to morph, bend, and make topics of the moment their own through curation or creation.