Culture and Tech Blended


The 2015 SXSW Festival and Conference in Austin, TX has come to a close. For those cave dwellers out there who may not have heard, SXSW (meaning “South by Southwest”) is a series of interactive meetings and events focused on emerging technologies, film and musical entertainment. Over the last couple of weeks, attendees have been treated to presentations and exhibits with topics ranging from new media and entertainment, to advancements in wearable devices and health monitoring tech. Basically, it’s the only place on earth where it would make sense to find Snoop Dogg mixing with robots.

This year, the focus was heavily centered around wearable technology and Artificial Intelligence. There was even a debate as to whether advances in AI could be too much of a good thing. Before we tell you our favorite from the event, here are some of the major topics covered at SXSW 2015:

  • It’s All About the Self: 
    • Live streaming apps: Meerkat, Periscope, Teleparty and Stre.am were all big hits. It’s all about taking the selfie to the next level with streaming video.
    • Also featured: Selfie sticks, GIF photo booths, and a bunch of people roaming around taking pictures of themselves.
  • Robotics:
    • Prosthetics: Advances in robotics have made way for prosthetics with almost fully functional limbs and gripping hands with lifelike movement.
    • Disaster Relief: The robot (not just a wedding reception dance anymore) can now be used to collect data from humans in life threatening situations, as well as assess disaster stricken areas without putting humans in harm’s way.
  • Getting from A to B:
    • Flying Cars: George Jetson was not able to attend, but a flying car was in attendance. It could feasibly be mass produced.
    • Driverless Cars: There is a driverless Audi making its way from New York to San Francisco right now. Driverless, meaning a car without a human driver. Cool.
  • Wearables: 
    • Smartwatches: Check your calendar and answer your phone from your wrist. Besides monitoring your heart rate, you can keep up with prescription medicine doses and wellness checks too.
    • Fashion: Wearable technology doesn’t have to look out of place or from outer space. Textile and clothing makers are literally weaving together the latest looks with the latest tech.

Now, on to our fave. As you may or may not know, Boingo is headquartered in LA so we’re extremely sensitive to the drought and smart water use. So without further adieu, our top choice is……… SenSprout! In a time where a lot of attention is being put on climate change and water usage, SenSprout has developed a tool to help. This product marries their software to extremely cost effective water sensors able to communicate soil moisture levels via radio waves. These sensors print out on standard desktop printers and use off-the-shelf ink, infused with tiny particles of silver to create printable antennas! Farmers can immediately start using SenSprout to adjust their watering schedules and usage, and most of the materials are readily available and accessible in all parts of the globe. Talk about sustainability!

So as they say here in LA, until SXSW 2016 convenes again next year, it’s a wrap.

About Jay Pearson

Jay is Consumer Marketing Manager for Boingo Wireless. He is responsible for all marketing tactics and social media associated with Boingo's customer-facing products. When not working or attending one of his kid’s activities, he enjoys running and biking at the beach, hunting for old German cars and rooting for the UCSB Gauchos and Arsenal F.C.
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