Highlights from SXSW, the Festival of Technology

March 27, 2015
Jessica Smith

With an overwhelming agenda, hundreds of cutting-edge speakers, a unique expo floor, and interactive experiences on every bustling corner, South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas is one of the largest events of its type in the world. More of a technology festival than a typical conference, SXSW is an incredible, truly interactive experience.

Last week, the Telx Marketing team had the opportunity to attend SXSW. After a few days of unwinding, we’re more than ready to call it a success.

Leading up to the event, we were excited. We’d heard great things from past attendees, including some clients of Telx. This year lived up to the hype. SXSW felt bigger than Texas with around 33,000 attendees for SXSW Interactive alone. We started with our goals: first, understanding where Telx would fit into the equation, then, at the conference, building new relationships and better understanding the latest trends and new technologies.

We did our prep work and selected our sessions—a difficult task with over 1,000 conference sessions to choose from. We RSVPd for parties. Lastly, we made sure we had a few interactive sessions thrown into the mix in order to get the most out of our experience at SXSW 2015. From concerns about data privacy, to thoughts on designing new technology for humans, to planning on taking the next step as a startup, to gaming and virtual reality, the conference—sorry, festival—was jam-packed with sessions on our love affair with data in all things.

My biggest takeaways from the event concerned culture, community, and how the Internet of Things is taking both to new levels. Everywhere you turn these days, you hear about an ‘always on,’ connected world—but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing.

Technology is about building new communities to connect people and share content and experiences to learn and grow from each other. Unsurprisingly, wearables are likely going to play a large part in this evolution. We’re more connected than ever, but we need to create better content through these connected devices if we want to start seeing true value. This interest largely came from my everyday work. A core focus of the Telx ecosystem is building a community to help each other grow.

I also got the opportunity to hear powerhouse women in tech speak about their journeys to the C-level seats they now hold. Despite being a minority, they’ve overcome difficult situations and gender diversity by leaning in, stepping up, giving it a go, and getting out of their own way—an inspiration across the board. I also caught up with David Pogue at the Yahoo Yodel lounge. I can’t wait for another chance to see him when he hosts this year’s MarketplaceLIVE East!

My colleagues all had similarly engaging and educational experiences. Josh Neuroth told me SXSW was life-changing. His favorite session was called “Super Wifi,” a session on how an emerging standard for long-range wifi will transform connectivity across the globe and rural areas of the U.S. Josh also participated in a session with the founders of scrum, a now popular project management method, in which he and a group of 23 others built a functional, 140hp car in just one day. We both agreed that many of the things we learned at SXSW probably couldn’t be learned or seen online. SXSW is an incredible inside look at how emerging ideas are going to change the next five years of technological innovation.

From the people we met, to the opportunities and thought leadership we encountered, to touching and being a part of new and emerging technologies, SXSW proved to the Telx team that it’s a can’t-miss event for the tech industry. We left SXSW Interactive 2015 with inspiration, innovation, creativity, a renewed sense of vigor, and a new challenge of continuing to spread the Telx brand name amongst a startup ecosystem we want to see grow with Telx.

5 days of exhausting interaction, learning, and running around downtown Austin? Worth it!

We hope to see you there next year!

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