This week some of our team is heading down to SXSW 2016, or Spring Break for Nerds as my father reminded me it really is. So we wanted to see what might be the interesting stories, tech, or apps to come out of Austin. Last year’s darling of SX, Meerkat, who ushered in a rush of live streaming services, is less than a year later changing course. And yes, VR will be the biggest story, but you already knew that.
So sit back, relax, get that slow cooked brisket out, and see if you can find the draft tiki cocktail of your dreams, or dive bar of your dreams, as we dive into the wonderful world of digital in the Weekly wins.
1. Robots > Drones
This is the question festival goers might be asking this year at SXSW. As robots invade the SXSW area, will they become bigger than the VR story? Coming on the heels of a new poll suggesting that, “65% of American adults expect that by 2066, robots and computers will “definitely” or “probably” do much of the work currently done by humans.” This year there is a whole Robot Ranch, kind of a robot petting zoo if you will. So that means we get to hang out with Jibo, Pepper, and robot bartenders. Hopefully there aren’t any robot creative directors in the mix.
2. 3D Printing and Sneakers
3D printing has been a big thing in nerd circles for years, but now that the technology is starting to make its way into the mainstream and our sneakers, more people will take notice. Adidas is taking this to a whole new level with their “The Future will be Personalized” As Paste describes it, “Adidas will be discussing their concept of Futurecraft 3D as an initiative to fully unleash creativity with open source innovation. Futurecraft 3D is a running shoe midsole that is customized to an individual’s foot with 3D scanning technology.” Think shoes that fit better than anything has ever fit.
3. Private Digital Club For Drinkers
We saw one thing that was pretty obscure. New app Hooch launching at SXSW is like a digital private club for cocktail enthusiasts. Sadly not available in Vancouver or Toronto, Hooch is, “a members-only cocktail app based in New York City, is bringing its boozy services to town starting Friday. If you subscribe to the app as a member — paying $9.99 per month or $99 per year — you’ll be able to get one free cocktail per day at participating bars.” This sounds both dangerous and too good to be true. Given our theme of the weekly wins, this one caught our eye.
4. The logical extension of food porn
One of the founders of Youtube is going all in on live video for foodies. This is Nom. “Nom is a place for food lovers,” said Steve Chen. “If you’ve ever snapped a picture of your dinner, Nom is for you. If you have a food blog and want to connect with a bigger audience, Nom is for you. If a restaurant kitchen is your office, Nom is for you.” Debuting at SXSW on Monday, Nom gets you up close and person to your food, or your chefs. God help us if Guy Fieri figures this one out.
5. Is audio the new streaming video?
With people still catching the wave of Serial and audio storytelling, this year’s festival offers up some chances at this years alternate hot category being a decidedly digital take on the old school medium of the spoken word. Already Anchor, is creating some buzz in nerd circles for its take on bite sized audio conversations in a social world. And joining them will be Roger – think a walkie-talkie where nostalgia meets an app. It helps that the app comes with the “from the people who built Spotify” mark. Will everyone be doing audio in 2016? Or just the nerds? If you like both of these apps, you’re a nerd. Embrace it.