South by Southwest (SXSW) is a series of conferences and festivals that deal with music, movies and various interactive media. It takes place on a yearly basis in Austin, Texas. It originally started in 1987. Since then, it has grown into one of the most important shows in the country. Many of the biggest performers in the music industry go there to play concerts and debut new material. Likewise, many of the biggest tech companies go to SXSW to hold conferences that they use to debut and promote various pieces of technology before they are available to the general public.
Indeed, SXSW is quickly becoming as important when it comes to introducing new technology to the masses as the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Let’s take a look at some of the new technologies that were unveiled at SXSW 2014:
iBeacon by Eventbase Technology Inc.
Eventbase Technology had already made a name for themselves as the creators of one of the most trusted platforms for event apps. Now they introduced an innovative app that has several names. It is called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Bluetooth Smart and it has been dubbed iBeacon by Apple. This technology is already being called a game-changer in the tech world. It allows users of tablets and smartphones to detect various beacons to be used to interact with objects and people that are around them. Eventbase positioned beacons inside of certain venues. When people went inside a venue where the beacons were present, a prompt from the official SXSW GO iPhone app told them to join the conversation. This enabled them to chat with other people in attendance. They could also participate in live audience polls and a discussion forum. Users also received notifications that contained messages that concerned places and sessions they wanted to attend. Scott Wilcox, the Technology Director of SXSW, believes the technology displayed by iBeacon has amazing potential.
Oculus Rift by Oculus VR
The Oculus Rift is a headset that is used to play video games and it contains virtual reality capabilities. Computerworld magazine referred to it as the festival’s “sleeper hit.” What makes this product different from the other gaming headsets that are currently available on the market is its superb quality and the fact that it will be priced affordably. This is encouraging, especially considering the amount of money that went into designing it. It is expected to be available in late 2014 or early 2015.
Google wearable technology
Google announced that they will soon be releasing a software development kit that is based on the Android. It is specifically aimed at designing devices that are wearable. However, many people in the tech industry have expressed some skepticism about the ability of smartphone technology being able to be converted into an item that can be worn that is the size of a wristwatch. There is concern about the ability to leverage applications that already exist because the screens of most watches are only two inches diagonally. It remains to be seen what wearable hardware will be produced to go along with Google’s software development kit.
Taggar social augmented reality app
Augmented reality is a live view of a real, physical environment that has had various elements augmented by sensory input such as graphics, video or sound. The Taggar app is able to recognize objects and shows content that has been tagged within the environment. It is currently available for iOS. A version for the Android will be released shortly.