SXSWi 2014 Takes Austin by Storm
Austin is a place where a vibrant tech culture is practically inescapable. However, there are few moments during the year as overwhelming as when the tidal wave of SXSW sweeps over the city. Even for those who “just live here” and want to continue with their same-old same-old, they too are dragged into the foray. It’s a thrill to tap into the energy, and we enjoy escaping our SOCO office whenever possible to breathe deep gulps of air…as if the seeds of innovation and creativity could be absorbed in that manner. Anyone who’s experienced SX will swear this is so.
Bluetooth Smart Meetup
On March 7th, we kicked off SXSWi 2014 with the Bluetooth Smart Meetup at Bourbon Girl, joining other industry leaders to talk Bluetooth LE and Location Based Services. Together, we discussed the present and future of manufacturing beacons, deploying solutions with beacons and GPS, and investment in the industry. Despite the best efforts of the “hushers,” who attempted shushing chatter to bring the presentations more firmly into focus, the crowd was loud; the excitement around Bluetooth Smart couldn’t be hampered! It was awesome to network with others in the beacon ecosystem: hardware companies, software developers, and others that use location technologies in their business.
Feature speaker Robert Scoble, Startup Liason at Rackspace, and co-author of Age of Context was introduced by our Board Chairman, Erik McMillan, and spoke about his insight on how much location awareness contributes to context. Our president, Bret Cunningham, also took the stage to speak about BestFit Mobile alongside Bluetooth SIG representatives, PayPal, AMD, Nokia, Qualcomm, Zappos, Box.com, RackSpace, Synopsys, RCG, VMWare, and others to showcase solutions utilizing beacon technology.
Mobile Monday #MobileTech Demos
We also attended an event at Fogo de Chao organized by Mobile Monday. We showed off our Bluetooth demo and viewed others from leading mobile startups from Austin and around the world. It was a room full of great conversation, brilliant ideas and interesting people!
iBeacon at SXSW
For those attending the Interactive Session panels, iBeacon was leveraged to make the experience even more fluid and enjoyable. The beacon technology for the event was configured by Eventbase, using Qualcomm Gimbal beacon hardware. These are the same folks responsible for the ACL and SXSW event app. Mashable provides a great summary to highlight the features delivered by 40 beacons in the Austin Convention Center. These are the use cases they performed:
1) Users in the SXSW registration area received notifications containing their Registration QuickCodes.
2) When a user arrived at a session, they were greeted with a notice on their phone, welcoming them to the session they attended and inviting them to join the discussion within the app itself.
3) The broadest beacon implementations occurred during keynotes at the Austin Convention Center, in “passive only” mode, to anonymously collect analytics. Users were thanked for attending a session and not given any other specific prompts.