Thousands attending the first day of SXSW Interactive navigate the halls of the Convention Center in Austin on March 7, 2014. Credit: Rodolfo Gonzalez
This week’s Digital Savant column is one of several previews from me of this year’s big SXSW Interactive festival. Last week, we looked at ways that the fest is spotlighting web/TV convergence.
On Friday I’ll be talking about free stuff you can do to experience SXSW without a badge, whether you’re downtown or not.
But in Tuesday's paper and on MyStatesman, it's my story about the fest itself — how it's changing this year, some of the major themes that'll be discussed and what things are staying the same as Interactive continues to grow up and evolve.
Here’s an excerpt:
Changing: Beacons everywhere. The biggest change in this year's festival app SXSW Go is the use if "iBeacons," a technology that is basically like indoor GPS to help attendees get around more easily and find new ways to meet and socialize with other festgoers.
Scott Wilcox, SXSW director of technology, said about 1,000 beacon hardware devices are being installed across all festival venues, and attendees have the option to use the technology to connect with other people using a feature called "Around Me." "The idea is about creating a little greater intelligence around the networking portion of the show," Wilcox said. "Everyone's on the go doing a million things, but a few minutes here and there and you might discover the person you're looking to connect with is nearby. This enables those ad-hoc conversations."
You can read the rest of the column here. Let me know what stuff you're excited about (or if you're skipping the fest entirely).
And one clarification I should make — the Convergence Day content I mention in the column goes beyond just SXSW Interactive and is open to all badgeholders. While some tracks like SXSW Sports and Style originated as part of SXSW Interactive, they're really their own thing these days and the other legs of the fest (Film and Music) are actively involved in creating that content too.
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