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SxSW Round up: Part Two

With the second instalment of our attempt to digest and distil the SxSW experience in to manageable chunks for you, the focus will be more on the broader elements to the conference as opposed to too much of a blow by blow of sessions attended.

The myriad of valuable things that come out of a trip to SxSW can, generally speaking, be categorised in to two man camps – knowledge and connections.

Over the last few days, the pursuit of knowledge has taken me to places weird and wonderful. Nowhere is the future of technology more close that in the mind-bendingly diverse display of tech products and innovations in the main convention centre’s Trade Expo hall. There is more virtual, mixed and augmented reality showcased than you can shake a stick at – from short live-action VR documentaries, to a VR exploration of one of NASA’s launch pads, from a VR experience that sees you lying face down on a table with your arms strapped to flappable ‘wings’ with a wind machine blowing in your face as you ‘fly’ through the streets of NYC, to a VR music room that sees you composing symphonies in real time. In terms of hardware, we’ve seen everything from great British export Pavegen who are turning footsteps in to energy, to Laundroid your own personal robotic laundry-folding assistant, to the long-anticipated Jacquard jacket – a collaboration between Levi’s and Google that brings us fully connected garments – and everything in between. To borrow a phrase learnt from a friendly stranger earlier in the week, this is really drinking from the fire hose type stuff.

Gabby at SxSW
Gabby at SxSW

As if the ‘by day’ side of SxSW doesn’t keep you quite busy enough, by night you are welcoming in to a whirlwind of meeting new people, making connections and soaking in the abundant inspirational atmosphere. Whether it’s at hosted networking drinks from our friends at ForrestBrown or our friends at the IPA (thanks guys!), whether it’s speaking with industry leaders at a MeetUp focused on the Future of eCommerce or whether it’s good old fashioned talking to the person next to you – you’re never shy of an opportunity to foster connections with like-minded folk. The beauty of SxSW is where those conversations go.

And with that, it turns time to venture out in to the night once more for what will (unbelievably) be the last night of the trip before the long journey home. At least we can say without doubt that we will be making that trip back riddled with ideas on how to face the ever-changing digital world of work head on and harness insight picked up to stay ahead of the curve.

Watch this space!