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iris SxSW Bites 2016

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iris SxSW Bites 2016

  1. 1. 1 1 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 SXSW BITES Making SXSW Digestible
  2. 2. 2 2 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 With elaborate, broad brushstrokes, this year’s “South by” delivered a colorful palate of messages that reflected the canvas that is our current landscape, while providing a glimpse of what our future holds. It is safe to say that the conference, now in its 30th year, is fully matured into a marketplace for entrepreneurs and investors, where the traditional excitement of start-ups and breakout companies competes with an influx of new interests, ranging from industry sponsors, public sector presence, and university innovation. Last year, the focus was on authenticity, this year it was all about call to action. Perhaps it was the absence of a killer new break out app or because President Obama stole the attention of the entire city as the opening keynote. Or maybe it was the universal narrative of problem solving that attempts to identify what drives human behavior. Regardless of the technology, marketers and brands are searching for the best way to make a seamless integration into consumer’s lives and reproduce the human experience. We took a week to think about the sidelines, the main stage, and conversations we had, and landed on several themes that permeated throughout the social fabric that is the SXSW experience. “ “ I was the cool, early adopter president. -Barack Obama The nexus of all things cool
  3. 3. 3 3 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 THE BIG THEMES
  4. 4. 4 4 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 After 30 years, SXSW was finally able to capture the attention of both the POTUS and the First Lady. President Obama led the conversation on civic engagement in the 21st century, and helped set the tone for rest of the conference. Several salient points were made over the course of the interview that reflect key issues and challenges as the roles of technology, media, and marketing blend together: On barriers for change: “We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote. You’re laughing, but it’s sad…We systematically put up barriers and make it as hard as possible for our citizens to vote. It is much easier to order pizza or a trip than it is for you to exercise the single most important task in a democracy, and that is to select who is going to represent you in government.” On disruption: “The US Government is currently going through a form of disruption– taking technology (our daily life) and transposing them into tired & old government practices is alien and requires an overhaul. Healthcare.gov is the first example of this.” On meeting the needs of our neighbors: “We’re failing those who need it most by not supplying them with efficient ways to get what they need: veterans, immigrants, single parents, future students.” On Participation: “These are solvable problems. It’s not a matter of us passively waiting for somebody else to solve it, and that’s part of the mindset that I’m trying to break.” President Obama’s key messages centered on the idea of trade-offs for Americans–in that we all have a responsibility to guarantee each other’s well-being and safety. #1: Politics and Public Authorities WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS It’s not about ideologies or future gazing. World-changing things are happening now. Ignore them at all of our peril. Get involved, make a difference, change the world for the better. Despite political leanings, we all agreed that we expect to see more collaboration and greater presence from the public sector space.
  5. 5. 5 5 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 From wearables to fashion to connected vehicles, to countless other IOT-based devices, this year’s SXSW highlighted the continued interest for the Internet of Things. While we were dazzled by the latest tech, it’s still clear that we are just beginning to scratch the surface. In the context of the smart home, devices are not what makes a home smart—they are just the arms—you still need a head. This is relevant because with our current set of tools, there are still many user challenges.. For instance, why is turning on a light with an app better than a switch? It takes nearly 20x as long to open an app and select than it does to touch a switch [Colin Angle, CEO & Co-Founder, iRobot Corporation, Robots and IoT session]. So where does this lead us? The 2nd generation of IoT will be in the form of connected device hubs that begin stitching together devices which are too complex in present state; and we’re well aware that customers don’t have a great history with complexity (just think about the ubiquitous blinking clock on the VCR). When things get exciting is when we start thinking about 3rd generation devices. What is 3rd generation? This is when devices should tick things off your list, not add to them, and the experience will be simple, automated, and personal. #2: The Internet of Connected Everything WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS The landscape is still highly fragmented and manufacturers are competing for control of space as well as addressing security and privacy issues. Immediately, devices are still capturing data. Revolution will arrive when devices begin talking to themselves and the data begins to learn and help to change human behavior. By 2025, the smart home industry will reach $200B.
  6. 6. 6 6 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 The continued proliferation of narrowcast networks, i.e., snapchat, FB messenger, newly integrated features for Twitter, and WeChat all under-shadow the natural progression of conversational UI. Taking a step back, it’s helpful to think about how the data-driven information age has precipitated massive disruption. 90% of the world’s data was created in the past 2 years [Present Tense: The First Now-Centric Civilization, Speaker: Nova Spivack (CEO & Co-Founder @ Bottlenose)], and real-time analytics has produced foundational shifts in how we communicate. Information density continues to move towards the spectrum of immediate and short. For instance, the average gif is about 5 seconds, which uncoincidentally, is the average length of a movie scene, a sports highlight, the time it takes to read a sentence, the length of pre-roll on a YouTube video, or a snapchat video. #3: Social Media & Content WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS Five seconds is the sweet spot of human expression. However, despite the multiple platforms, mechanics, trends, interests, and viewpoints the principles of how to capture attention still remains the same: what’s going to be relevant to my target consumer? 90% of the world’s data was created in just the past 2 years
  7. 7. 7 7 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 This was officially the first year that SXSW added VR into its set of informational tracks, signaling the level of interest, investment, and mainstream status. Backing up the sessions, it felt like everyone was there to show off their new toys, including Samsung, McDonald’s, IBM, Google, NASA and the New York Times. We saw applications of VR being used across all industries and it’s clear that it has a role in more than just the gaming industry. From concerts, to sports training, to tourism, to guided meditation, VR is and will continue to be a legitimate storytelling medium that offers high engagement. But not all VR/AR experiences need to be replete with avatars or high-end experiences. In fact, there were several companies present that helped to bridge today with tomorrow. For example, Visa was allowing visitors to try on Olympic gear using their digital shopping experience and change the background to see how the clothing looked in the appropriate setting. #4: Virtual & Augmented Reality WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS With an estimated $30BN in annual revenue by 2020, there’s not doubt in the potential of VR/AR. However, the direct value of the technology is not quite mature. Summarized sentiments from the keynote session with the makers of Mr. Robot say it best, “AR and VR just aren’t for everyone”. AR and VR are everywhere – but are they for everyone?
  8. 8. 8 8 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 The field of artificial intelligence is an ongoing hot topic, and SXSW delivered this year. Each year technology pushes boundaries and tests the limits of modern hardware and software.The history of AI speaks for itself: •  1997–The Deep Blue chess program beats the current world champion, Garry Kasparov, in a widely-followed match •  2005–Stanley, an autonomous car developed by the Stanford Racing Team, wins the DARPA Grand Challenge, completing a 132- mile course in the Mojave Desert at an average speed of 19 mph •  2011–Watson, another pioneering AI system from IBM, defeated all-time Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter In particular, Hiroshi Ishiguro's android held an autonomous conversation during his talk. SKD’s Jibo was able to hold the attention of some in the crowd as he demonstrated interactive and social skills, but was less successful at doing so when not on the main stage. What this means is that the field of emotive robotics are creating additional possibilities for marketers to reach their consumers in new, meaningful ways. What’s more interesting is that we’re quickly approaching two-way feedback, where AI will be able to take into account users emotional response with historical data to provide more useful feedback. #5: I, Robot: Artificial Intelligence and Emotive Robots WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS AI and Emotive robotics will be an exciting place to watch. These types of robotics will open up a channel for marketers to deliver highly contextual messages to their consumers based on the set of IOT-provided data. The threat of Skynet is extremely far away.  More than likely, AI’s impact will be in the replacement of bricklayers, not brain surgeons.
  9. 9. 9 9 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 HONORABLE MENTIONS
  10. 10. 10 10 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 THE FIFTH “P” STANDS FOR PURPOSE Level of interest in the social good/cause marketing sector called for the creating of its own hub and graduated tag, “SXgood”. We saw the likes of the Dschool, to the UN Foundation, to private industry collaboration that celebrates the success of social entrepreneurs using business to solve world problems. FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION Connected cars, self-driving cars, and the presence of HyperLoop were all visible and present in clawing their way to become the next disruptor in the transportation industry. BIO-TECH The Bio tech sector presented a very high quality/high energy face at the conference with good collaboration between academia, the establishment (e.g., big Pharma ) and emerging Biotech companies. The promise was all around eradication of chronic illness and chronic global issues such as famine, without side effect, but is still decades away. We hope to see more with the installation of the UT Austin Medical School, which opens in the summer of 2016. COLLABORATION AND OPEN SOURCE This was a common theme across data, biotech, sustainability, and FinTech–the basic premise being that the more people that can come together to innovate, the more we can do. While this idea is not novel, the evidence of this type of economy efficiently utilizing resources and is proving to be effective. DARK SOCIAL Dark Social is social content that is shared through private channels. A recent study by Radium One found that 59% of all online sharing is via dark social and 91% of Americans regularly share information via these methods. Marketers should keep an eye on this trend as it poses a dramatic shift in the strategy of how marketers will engage with consumers.
  11. 11. 11 11 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 OUR TOP THREE LESSONS LEARNED
  12. 12. 12 12 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 DIVERSITY & INCLUSION It’s getting worse, not better, we shouldn’t be debating it but doing something about it NOW. This extends from hiring more women into tech, cyber-bullying, and extending STEM to STEAM, as to include the arts. We were proud to see the conference addressing these issues and raising profiles and awareness to help us better reflect the diversifying country and underrepresented groups that exist within it.
  13. 13. 13 13 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 Brand marketers are challenged with redefining the approach for connecting to customers. It is less about being present in the channel and being cleverer than your competitor. That strategy has been commoditized and is passé. We posit that the greatest advancements will be made by enabling the conversation with customers and creating a compelling customer experience.This will require companies and brands to dive deep and know everything they can so that they are the best at what they do and are void of distractions. DIVE DEEP
  14. 14. 14 14 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 SCIENCE & DATA A lot of what we think are 'new' problems have actually already been solved a long time ago— brands just keep trying to re-invent the wheel. Because tech is now 'soft' as well as ‘hard’, you have companies like Google trying to work out how you embed innovation better when Darpa solved it 50 years ago.    The truth is out there, but we’re too busy thinking we’re the smartest guys in the room to stop thinking and start doing. Serious topics like privacy, security, and programmatic boundaries are actively changing the face of marketing, but they are equally creating a significant amount of distractions.This is why there’s a market and clear demand for those who can cut through the B.S., and stand for something authentic.
  15. 15. 15 15 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 “ “ The only wisdom you’ll see in the next year is uncommon wisdom. -Bruce Sterling, who amidst turmoil, trends, and tridents, managed to reflect on the state of SXSW Interactive.
  16. 16. 16 16 confidential © 2016Confidential © 2016 Thanks, ya’ll! Thanks for taking the time to read our little bite out of SXSW. If you’d like to know more, or arrange a session to dive into the content and trends in more detail, then please email: Sarah Aitken, CMO, Americas sarah.aitken@iris-worldwide.com A special thanks to our contributing editors: Mike Navarrete, Director - Concise, New York Jordan Harper,Technical Director, London Evan Heigert, Creative Director, Chicago

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