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Thursday, March 21, 13

SXSW 2013 Recap - RAPP

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Craig Elimeliah, VP of Technology Services at RAPP New York, breaks down all the action at the SXSW Interactive 2013 from the launch of new gadgets like LEAP and MakerBot, to applications like Quant-Self. Some were hits (robots with FaceTime!) and some were misses (where did all the cool new apps go?). He includes some technology-free wonders too: Kimchi fries and something he stumbled upon outside the festival (a Drone Operator on a river bank?) Discover it all here!

Text of SXSW 2013 Recap - RAPP

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Nice Gestures #Twitter3D Digitizing The Future Now

Leap senses your hands and fingers and follows their every move. It lets them move in all that wide-open space between you and your computer. So you can do everything without touching anything. It’s the tiny device that will change the way you use technology. It’s the world’s most natural technology that just might change the world. The AirSpace App Store is set to launch in May 2013

Bre Pettis unveiled the next generation device in the Makerbot 3D printing movement. A 3D scanner called the Makerbot DIgitizer.

What makes the MakerBot Digitizer special is that it was designed with 3D printing in mind. When you digitize an object on its spinning platform, you automatically get a high-quality, water-tight 3D model, in as little as three minutes. It’s the easiest and fastest way to get 3D-printable designs.

This year marked the emergence of Twitter as the de facto live event social platform.

SXSW witnessed 1,193,591 total conversations between March 812. 25-34 year olds made up 42% of the social chatter followed up by 35-44 year olds who represented 31% and then 45-54 year olds tweeting in at 12% - 53% of overall social chatter was generated by men.

The overall social sentiment for SXSW was a whopping 78% positive.

SXSW is largely a place to launch apps and social-based platforms but this year hardware crashed the party. The ultimate hardware being spaceships and futuristic electric cars.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared a successful SpaceX launch & Tesla partnered with Uber to make a big push in Austin where we saw several charging stations located throughout the city. The Tesla Uber partnership was a huge success. I for one was enamored to see this beautiful car all over Austin.

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Verbose Kicks

Google unveiled an early prototype of motion-sensing smart shoes. With an embedded speaker on the tongue, the shoe is able to yell motivation at you when you're being lazy, or encourage you when you're being active.

Every move the wearer of the shoes makes generates data that's captured using an accelerometer, gyroscope, and pressure sensors.

That data then gets pushed to an app on a mobile, and translated in real time into funny and motivating commentary. That commentary then gets pushed to banners and social media networks, including status updates to Google+

No one was really all that impressed and actually thought this was a spoof.

SXSW is also a place for folks to geek out over meeting famous Internet memes IRL.

Grumpy Cat made an appearance at the Mashable House. It was the first time people got to see this Reddit sensation in person.

I can honestly say that heard more mention of this fickle feline at bars and parties more than I heard mention of anything else at SXSW.

Grumpy Cat has a website that attracts 1.5 million unique visitors a month, a popular Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter account.

Sour Puss Lines Lines

There was no shortage of lines. It felt especially annoying this year because every year I think that the next year will be more organized and efficient using the collective power of all the innovation and technology that converges here in Austin.

That was not the case. This year seemed especially unorganized and for an event celebrating the future it is really frustrating to deal with.

My golden nugget of advice would be for someone to sponsor the running of some sort of efficiently mechanism that would truly make this a future focused event. As of now it is still a messy frat party.


The quantified self movement was probably the most pervasive subject at SXSW.

It was everywhere and it is maturing at a fast pace. This year featured more applications and systems than devices. Last year Nike held court with its FuelBand. This year was about demystifying the movement and starting to put some real definition around what it is and how it will really effect our lives.

Unlike other tech movements I think the quantified self movement has a certain maturity and air of seriousness to it. Words like gamification and other buzz words don't easily apply to this category . The QA movement is where the “grown ups” in tech are hanging out.

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Food trucks are still cool and Chi’Lantro’s Kimchi Fries are to die for!

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A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others in the field of software development, like graphic designers, interface designers and project managers collaborate intensively on software projects. Occasionally, there is a hardware component as well. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week in length. Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes, although in many cases the goal is to create usable software. Hackathons tend to have a specific focus, which can include the programming language used, the operating system, an application, an API, the subject and the demographic group of the programmers. In other cases, there is no restriction on the type of software being created.

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AT&T collaborated with American Airlines and challenged more than 60 developers to rethink how mobile apps help people get around the world at the American Airlines first-ever travel hackathon.AirPingAirPing provides users with live updates for flight changes or delays and estimated travel time to the airport. The app also provides the airlines with real-time information on the whereabouts of its passengers to better determine how many seats can be provided to customers on standby.

MokiicoMokiico gamifies air travel by giving customers points for completing certain travel activities like checking-in for their flight by a certain time or visiting preferred American Airlines merchants and retailers. Points can be redeemed for rewards, such as American Airlines miles.

Round TripRound Trip assists travelers from their point of origin to their destination, helping them plan the best route to the airport, obtain weather updates, monitor traffic and even reserve a post-flight rental vehicle. The app also automatically sends alerts to family and friends when the traveler’s destination has been safely reached.  

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I Tweet a lot! So did everyone else.

#SXSW was the official South By hashtag and topped the Twitter list.

Other popular hashtags included #sxswi, #sxsw2013, #austin, #atx, #sxsw13, & #sxswedu

With almost 300,000 tweets leading up to SXSW, the volume then exploded with 1,166,754 tweets from 434,028 users from professions including music, marketing, tech, design, and media.

Twitter traffic peaked with 276,497 tweets on March 10, up from 120,862 tweets at its lowest point, which coincided with the first day of SXSW.

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Apps underwhelmed this year.

SXSW is typically known as the venue to launch new & exciting apps. This year’s crop were nothing more than parodies on existing apps and there was no real standout killer app.

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The coolest tech I saw this year was in Austin but not at SXSW.

I went for a boat ride up some strange river and ended up getting out on the river bank to find a drone operator doing some test runs with this bad boy. This is a drone that carries an HD video camera and can carry a 10 pound payload. The precision on this is scary and anyone can get one.

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Hardware stole this years show.

Everywhere I went I kept bumping into hardware. From next generation Arduino kits like this one with touchable, interactive display and the ability to create apps using lightweight programming languages such as Javascript...

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... to this amazing piece of hardware. This is essentially a robot with FaceTime. This new technology is called Remote Presence.

Beam by Suitable Technologies allows the person on the other end to easily control the unit using a keyboard & mouse.

Beam's two HD cameras with custom wide-angle lenses gives you complete peripheral vision comparable to a real person’s, and its digital zoom lets you focus on the smallest details.

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RAPP threw it’s hat into the game.

RAPP launched a new realtime marketing platform called poptag. Using the hashtag #poppinsxsw people were able to brand, customize and share images in real time as they tweeted at SXSW. We even gave away a Makerbot 2 3D printer to a lucky winner!

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Healthcare 2.0

I met with some amazing healthcare start ups that all took part in the SXSW health startup accelerator. Here is a preview of some of the amazing platforms that are being developed in the healthcare field.

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TedCas HomeTeamINRFOOD Docphin

TedCas revolutionizes access and handling of medical information in hospital environments using touch-free Natural User Interfaces based on optolectronic devices like Microsoft Kinect. Using Tedcas technology medical doctors are able to control any healthcare application in an aseptic way.

Food today has become more chemistry than biology. INRFOOD is a platform that personalizes nutrition information and assesses, alerts, and advises you on what you're eating and how it affects you now, and in the future. It does this with a unique approach by analyzing food's core components: the ingredients.

Home Team Therapy uses online video and video games to help physical therapy patients get better fast. We work with your doctors to deliver a game plan for recovery, including: instructional exercise videos, progress tracking, and a pinch of friendly competition

Docphin is a platform for healthcare professionals to personalize access and connect through evidenced based research, while also enabling hospitals to meet new quality improvement initiatives and accreditation requirements. The platform is currently being used at nearly 100 institutions nationwide including Harvard, Hopkins, Penn & Stanford.

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Game of Thrones

Lots of Thrones. There were Throne themes pedicabs all over town and then this life size throne in the center of the convention center. People were lined up halfway around the hall just to get a shot of themselves sitting on the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. I think people like this show.

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The WWE is Crushing Social TV!4.4 million downloads of the WWE app; more than 97 million likes across their network of 121 Facebook accounts, with 5.4 billion status views in the last year alone! The WWE has more likes than the NFL or the NBA and all their team pages combined. Then there's Twitter: 45 million followers across the WWE's 122 official superstar, corporate, and creative feeds. No other entertainment property understands social like the WWE. They are a clinic in social TV success.

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Bruce Sterling’s Closing RemarksBruce Sterling in true cyberpunk fashion closed this years SXSW with some sobering and sage advice. Bruce said “Disruption isn't always positive.” He explained that it is a necessary evil in which he asked us all to take credit for and acknowledge. The destruction of the book, bookstores, the music industry, the PC, etc... His advice rang true in the heart of many who watched him speak and I think we all understood what he meant. This year SXSW was somewhat of a maturation year in which we all needed to take a step back and understand that this is all very real.

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Thank you.

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