SXSW 2017


  • Trump joke
  • Buzz Aldrin (2nd on moon) said „Either we explore (space / mars) or we expire.“ Very true.

  • Corps incorporate (SxSW) culture - Daimler me-convention along IAA 2017
  • If content is king, authenticity is crown (and doesn’t get you in licensing trouble)
  • Tech + retail - still figured out

Story telling all over the place

In the age of conversation interfaces and dialogues, story telling no longer primes movies, music and ads, but design as well. Design objects build make fix points in stories, the user experience defines the scope. As for all other dramas, one needs to tell something, after life won’t be the same, trying for a dramatic flow. Combing several experiences in a plot. Supportive (normally hidden) information comes a back story to explain. The narrative connects the consumer, independent of the technical platform. In the age of digital, same os experiences, the story connects to the brand. Even „und es geschah zu der Zeit“.

Storytelling for VR/AR/360

How to make an enjoyable physical experience for consumers? How apply drama and design flow to bind the user with the narrative? How to build shared experiences? What level of „reality“ needs to be reached to tell a story, can imaginary content and objects complement? How can the main story and stories told by objects and scenery be combined to one plot? Enabling personalised journeys and stories? Guess you find more answers in Stuttgart than Austin ;)

AI and human interaction

Ranging from personal threat and job killer to the future platform for interaction. Google presented on voice interaction and conversation design, but didn’t respond to „who owns the dialog?“. SxSW offered a working bot, to guide one thru the show. Generic interaction, like mixed HMI and MMI, and the cognitive intelligence including context are still fields to explore and conquer. Lots of paradigm mixing around AI and not really covering data analytics. Still interfaces will take on new qualities and may be potentially suited for the IT and Net averse.

AI and Ad

Starting with an artificial client brief, the first machine defined (?), composed and generated ad movie was introduced by Saatchi&Saatchi. Using a Japanese chatbot for persona definition and info source, the approach for plot, cast, production and sound has been unclear. Motivation really on getting awareness and pushing the crowd. The result was questionable and certainly not moving.

State and advances of autonomous driving

Daimler and HERE presented maps as foundation for autonomous drive, focusing „Scout“ functions based on HERE’s HD map and extensions named „Steward“ functions. Steward goes along with extensions of the viewport for sensors to gather data. So can taller buildings be covered and even „legolized“ into building blocks. Apart there was consideration about infotainment for autonomous mode and interior design.

Smart cities

Daimler opened it’s SMART house, being present since several years in Austin with the brand including Car2Go. In addition there have been sessions on using IoT, Drones, mobile robots and robot-taxis to enable and provide mobility. Versions of Hyperloop have been present and concepts by NASA, Boing and Airbus on future mobility including flying taxis (in virtual). Guess the mix of future concepts of mobility, infotainment, lifestyle and interactions is one of the sweet spots of the conference.


Intermixing Bitcoin and blockchain, including dialects like Ethereum and so forth, a mix of start-ups and established presented experiences and planning for blockchain. The architectural element of distributed systems and corresponding business models shines a light. External chains by startups (true, disruptive) and internal chains by IBM, VISA and the like (know the enemy, incorporate and protect old business models) have been introduced and discussed. Technical details like future secure hash algorithms, protection of the chain and SmartContracts have been touched but not really detailed. Definitive on many peoples mind, but not really settled.

Technology and art

Remarkably at SxSW is, how close technology, science and art get, like with people of NASA, Disney and Pixar presenting and discussion common matters in the same session. Technology is necessary as enabler and to somehow differentiate, design, story and art really complete the value for the consumer. An aspect which may increasingly become important and which may another visit to SxSW likely to occur.

The end

2017/03/21 by Eberhard Frank

Got interested?