First let me tell you a bit about South by Southwest (SXSW). It’s a set of film, interactive/technology, and music festivals and conferences that take place every spring in Austin, Texas. It began in 1987, and continues to grow in size every year. If I could sum up SXSW in two words I would say it’s a trendsetting conference (for example, Foursquare was introduced a few years ago at SXSW).
Shamrock’s interest in SXSW is quite simple: We want to know what the next big trends in interactive/technology will be so that we can prepare to have it, as needed, available to our clients. We always want to keep ahead of the interactive/technology curve to see how new trends can apply to our clients’ needs. Actually, I think it’s important for any business to know what’s ahead in technology and interactive since it affects all our lives.
While I didn’t attend SXSW in Texas, I was fortunate to attend a recent luncheon of the American Advertising Federation’s Cleveland Chapter, where guests heard from three Northeast Ohio-based speakers who spoke about their experience at this year’s SXSW and the future trends we may expect in interactive and technology.
Among the speakers at the Cleveland Ad luncheon was Chad Milburn, who attended SXSW, and introduced his startup. It’s called Plotter (http://www.plotterapp.com/), and it won top prize at this year’s SXSW Accelerator for interactive, which is a pretty big deal, since you have to be approved to even join the competition. Hooray for Cleveland!
Essentially, Plotter organizes multiple locations onto your phone to plot the locations on your own custom created maps. For example, if you’re going on a trip and want to see all of your stops, you can plot out the trip in advance right on to your phone so you won’t be constantly searching for locations. The Plotter app is downloadable at the app store.
Another speaker at the Cleveland luncheon was Markus Vogl, Assistant Professor of Art, Graphic Design Area at the University of Akron. Vogl discussed a project he is working on, called Coded :: Fashion, which he describes as being at the intersection of new media and fashion design. Coded :: Fashion was premiered at the international BIFT/ITAA (Beijing Fashion Institute/International Textile Association) conference in Beijing, China, and you can find out more information about it at coedfashion.com.
The third speaker was Margarita Benitez, an Assistant Professor and fashion technologist with the Fashion School at Kent State University. Benitez talked about computer integrated textile. Her passion lies in interactivity and interaction design with an emphasis on interactivity in textiles and fashion. Her recent research involves working on OSLOOM (http://www.osloom.org/about), designed to create an open source electromechanical thread-controlled floor loom that will be computer controlled. The software will allow anyone to simply weave a photo, import weave ready files from other software (such as Bhakti/Alice photoshop method), and then post the software on a repository for others to further develop or customize into their weaving. Benitez successfully used the “KickStarter” fundraising website to raise $10,000 to fund the OSLOOM project, which is presently in pre-production.
I think Benitez summed up the 2013 SXSW conference nicely when she said, “It was an honor to present at this year’s SXSW. It truly is an overwhelming event where all the latest innovation is showcased. We were representing Ohio’s academia with a progressive agenda as artists and by doing so we are strengthening Northeast Ohio’s position on the forefront of innovation.”
I couldn’t agree more. Not only are Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs gaining great benefits from the exposure they received from SXSW, but, thankfully, with the help of the American Advertising Federation Cleveland chapter, we’re gaining more exposure for the tremendous talent right in our own backyard!