9 top trends from SXSW 2015

Andrew Davenport reports back after five hectic days at South By South West (SXSW) to unload a head that’s buzzing with information, ideas and a determination to implement learnings.

So I popped into this session to pick out some headlines for you that. It’s by no means a full trends round up of SXSW 2015 – you can Google that.

1. Lots of buzz this week around the Meerkat app. Apparently everyone here is using it. So of course I’ve downloaded it. Spectacular user experience during my first filming: I dropped the phone. Let’s see how long it lasts on my phone.

2. Driving and car innovation trends have been big here from the connected and driverless car to lots of chat and admiration for new services from Lyft, Uber, Ridescout and #flyingcars being the top hashtag of the week so far. Favordelivery.com has received $10 million in funding in the last two days and this is part of a growing trend for personal delivery services for time poor consumers.

3. Large amounts of BitCoin content, but a belief that the ‘future of currency’ hasn’t made it any further into the rest of the program as there’s only gradual new uptake. They are trying to figure out how to use the technology for other things like online voting. And they are working on getting it regulated. If they want it to be taken seriously it seems the thinking is it has to be integrated into the financial world and talks are underway in New York State right now.

4. Virtual reality film-making is starting to be discussed. A lot of people are downloading content and watching on personal screens, and in bed, so a more immersive film experience is ahead.

5. Video is ripe for disruption: Curated content on YouTube safely predicted, and the in app video market exploding.

6. Buzzfeed has 60m unique impressions from Pinterest every month. More Millennials get news from Pinterest than Twitter. A sleeping opportunity for brands. Another interesting fact around the biggest thing Buzzfeed ever did, which was an interview with President Obama a couple of months ago. They published it on Facebook rather than their own platform because they wanted it to exist where the most people would see it and therefore went platform agnostic. It’s still Facebook for driving traffic to publishers’ platforms. “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd” was the advice!

7. Wearables and watches: wearables will be about biometrics for the next two years at least as the quantified self becomes usual behaviour. Watches are being jumped on by everyone as tech. DNA is important to brands but has not seen one good non bloody obvious example, and I’m not convinced personally until it’s all voice recognition. Heard about a voice activated smart watch being launched for senior citizens next year that appears to fit the bill.

8. 3D printing has declined in price and continues to proliferate.

9. The move to content being sponsored and commissioned by Yahoo, Amazon, Netflix, etcetera keeps the film and interactive festival buzzing. Deals are being signed with film-making talent and stars, which changes the industry. Adam Sandler and Leonardo DiCaprio joining a growing band of talent broadening their network affiliations.

That’s just a few things to snack on! The South By site has lots of content and resources for deeper dives.

Andrew Davenport is managing director at The White Agency.