What we’ve learned from the SXSW 2019 Conference in Austin

What we’ve learned from the SXSW 2019 Conference in Austin

This year we attended the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, along with a group of best-in-breed innovative Chilean companies and ProChile. SXSW is one of the biggest conferences in the US and stands for South by South West. It started in 1987 as a music festival for 700 people and grew to what it is today: a set of four conferences (Music, Interactive, Film & Education) plus a music festival and related events, that this year drew 300.000 people according to some estimates.

The first thing that comes to your mind at this conference is the sheer magnitude and diversity that is presented through the various keynotes, talks, booths and events. Just to give some examples of the things that you could find at the exposition halls (where the booths are): a 3D printer that “prints” sushi pieces (*), an exoskeleton by Lockheed Martin, trips to the stratosphere by Virgin Galactic, a company that sells infographics, a “loveable robot”, a brassiere that allows men to breastfeed their babies… and software companies showcasing their products and services.

Printed sushi pieces

The representation of many different countries was also a high note. Booths from Dubai, Spain, Brazil, Japan and many others were scattered all through the exhibition space, and of course including the Chile booth, where Arkano was showcasing its projects and services along with nine other tech-related companies from Chile with the support and organization of ProChile and under the clever motto “Innovate! Go south (but really south)”.

Some of the topics that were covered during the conference range from AI, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, cannabusiness, design, startups and entrepreneurship, robotics, etc. This again speaks to the diversity of the conference as well as the ubiquitous role of technology in today’s world, which traverses any industry and business vertical one can imagine.

Ironically enough, within this context of high tech, one-to-one networking thrives. Spaces for networking are abundant throughout the conference as well as many houses in the vicinity of the convention center are turned into temporal showrooms for companies such as LinkedIn, SAP and Twitter to promote this person-to-person networking. We also took advantage of these spaces to meet new people and companies to start new relationships.

Another takeaway from SXSW is that it opens your mind and gives you the chance to sneak peek as to what the tech world is doing and where it’s heading, as long as you attend with a disposition to “free your mind” (one of our mottos). This helps you foresee tendencies and crossroads of various technologies and trends, including those in which Arkano could put focus in the future, as well as imagine future scenarios of technology usage, like the design impacts of voice-powered interfaces for industry-specific AI solutions (e.g. for natural resources), just to name one example of the things we are imagining.

In summary, SXSW presents itself as a very good opportunity to pause for a couple of days and take some time to reflect not on what we do today but on what we could do tomorrow, while at the same time showcase your solutions; and as it was in our case, be part of a mission along with other innovative Chilean companies to promote our innovations from the south, really south.

(*) This was a huge 3D printer that produced perfectly-shaped eatable sushi pieces, with intricate designs allowed by the precision of the printer. It included a sort of fish cells incubator (submerged under certain liquid) that gathered small fish cells into what later would be the upper part of the sushi piece, topping the rice base. They expect to put them into production in Tokio in 2020. Truly impressive. 

#Innovation #Events #ProChile

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