Part 2 of 2: Ann Newland, VP Digital Strategy
This has been an insightful week so far down in Austin, TX for the 2016 SXSW Interactive festival. I’m here with our creative director, Jameson Sheppard, who shared great notes yesterday. Be sure to check that out if you haven’t already. My experience has been similar to Jameson’s in that I’ve been able to attend several sessions, hit the tradeshow floor, and have countless conversations with interesting people from all over the world. As I’ve been gathering intel and making observations, several trends have surfaced.
Virtual Reality Everywhere
Several VR startups showcased their products and/or apps during the SXSW Trade Show. Samsung Creative Lab unveiled three new projects including Entrim 4D, which allows you to feel the VR content you’re experiencing via electric signals sent to your brain. The Entrim 4D headset uses a technology called Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation that sends electric signals to a nerve on the backside of the ear. The aim is for this headset to bring a 4D-like experience to VR without the need for the 4D motion chairs.
Splash, a social virtual reality iOS app, allows users to capture and share 360-degree videos that can be viewed on smartphones and VR headsets like Google Cardboard.
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Jibo, the MIT-born social robot, offers a two-way interactive experience that feels like a human-to-human interaction. Jibo was created by Cynthia Breazeal, an MIT professor and social robotics pioneer. She launched Jibo on Indigogo, the crowdfunding platform in 2014. The robot leverages artificial intelligence to learn about an individual’s daily habits and preferences. The benefits of social robots open up possibilities and can be transformative, enabling more positive and personal consumer interactions with these devices.
Technology Meets Politics
Today, technology is embedded in politics as much as it’s embedded in marketing. President Barack Obama opened with a keynote and addressed the FBI-Apple encryption dispute, stating that smartphones can’t be allowed to be "black boxes," inaccessible to the government. President Obama’s appearance at SXSWi comes as the FBI tries to force Apple Inc. to help investigators access an iPhone used by one of the assailants in the recent San Bernardino, California, terror attack.
Dan Rather hosted a panel on how technology influences presidential politics, from FDR (radio), Kennedy-Nixon (first televised debate) and President Obama (“The Facebook President”).
Jameson and I will continue to soak up as much information and ideas as we can while we’re here. We’ll share a full wrap of the week on Friday, which will be a post you won’t want to miss. In the meantime, continue to follow our journey on the Mitchell Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts.