South by Southwest day 1: Tech trends that will change society, not just marketing

Ogilvy Australia's head of digital reflects on the 30th anniversary of South by Southwest and how this year's line-up demonstrates the power of technology

South by Southwest is 30 years old today, but that word 'old' shouldn't be taken the wrong way.

With over 300 inspiring and future-focused events held over eight days, SXSW is considered a crystal ball for the marketing, tech, film, arts - and now health - industries. Twitter first premiered at SXSW in 2007, and back then no-one would have predicted it would become the daily communications platform for a president.

Thousands of people from all over the world migrate to Austin, Texas to hear from a range of keynote speakers, attend sessions, workshops, exhibits and installations, all in a festival atmosphere.

The line-up of sessions is so diverse and intriguing, there's a constant sense of FOMO as you can't possibly attend everything on your favourites list. And the long lines of people for each session are equally intriguing. A mixed bag of ages, nationalities, personalities and hair colours. Every stereotype harmoniously mixes; hipsters, geeks, film producers, artists, musicians, executives, developers and more. A common tech vibe pervades.

It's the end of day one for SXSW and already my brain has been tickled by talk of smart cities, machine learning, algorithmic industrial design and more. I’ve heard speakers from Airbnb, Pinterest, Verizon, IBM, National Geographic, MIT Media Lab and the Mayor of Atlanta. And that’s just the first day.

There’s no doubt from this early stage of the event that key themes for marketers are emerging. And the interesting thing is that they’re not individual technologies, or the latest shiny toys. They are trends that will impact many areas of business, not just marketing. In fact, they will impact society and shift economies.

Artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, advanced wireless connectivity, smart objects – these are shifts so fundamental and challenging to many of our brands, products and ways of living, that it’s clear that those brands that start to anticipate these changes and act accordingly will have a distinct advantage. Collaboration is the formula for accelerated progress to make your brand matter in the technology fuelled future.

Opportunities abound for those that start to understand and experiment with change, and the laggards face extinction. It sounds like rhetoric, but when you see the scale and pace of advancement on show here, you get a true sense of what the future may hold, or at least the need to embrace it wholeheartedly.

There’s much more in store over the coming week and I look forward to sharing more with you.

- Jason Davey is the head of digital for Ogilvy Australia.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

To DMP or not to DMP?

There are plenty of brands that can benefit from plugging into a data management platform. But should you engage an agency to run one or bring it in-house?

Ben Willee and Richard Taylor

Spinach Advertising

Innovations in retail will bring creative and technology closer than ever

While approaching a customer in a shop and asking what you can help them with is Retail 101, how many of us actually enjoy being approached? Generally, you have to give the forced, fake smile and say, “Just browsing, thanks,” while screaming on the inside, “just leave me alone!” Maybe it’s just me?

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

There’s a brand in my digital soup

Not a day passes by in the life of business executives where digital innovation or the prospect of disruption is not front of mind. This in turn, drives an unrelenting flow of questioning, discussion and strategy papers.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

It is really inspiring to see that medial psychology & machines are going hand in hand to innovate new things and even are improving ...

CBT Professionals

How psychology is shaping better machine learning

Read more

Anything is achievable when you talk the talk .. good luck

Mo Al Hooti

Data Creative crowns Matt Bates as new CMO

Read more

Great hire and good luck Andrew. I am sure you'll do a fabulous jobRob

Rob

Amaysim marketing and commercial chief joins property tech investment startup

Read more

I need to be reborn before i can grow up & become a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

I hope The Block, will continue for many many more seasons.When i die, & grow up, I want yo come back as a contestent.

Kaye Peterkin

Channel Nine's content now streamed digitally on 9Now

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in