Create Converge @ SXSW 2019

It was a significant opportunity to expand the CC network and make contact with  speakers with a view to bringing them over to events in the North Sea Region.

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It is a major industry festival that focuses on three areas: Film, Music and Interactive.

South by South West.

So there’s a large film festival, an equally large music festival and an interactive conference. In addition, major digital brands like Google, Facebook and  Netflix are all there with exhibition stands a bunch of speakers, gigs and digital experiences.

Brands love SXSW. It’s use as a brilliant forum by Amazon Prime and others with big budgets to launch TV series. It’s also used to put the spotlight on unique and innovative collaborations like the Red Cross with cult and hugely popular, fantasy TV drama series Game Of Thrones to collect blood donors.

In addition to being just a huge jumble of impressions and events, SXSW is a great way pick up industry knowledge and intelligence with insight on the emerging media landscape.

In particular, four major trends broke through on the Interactive track.

Trend 1: Human-Centred, Human-centric, and Ethics

One of the biggest trends at SXSW dealt with ethics in a digital perspective, focusing on man and not technology. With buzzwords such as AI, machine learning and data storage and resale as prevailing in the technology starry sky, at SXSW there was a desire to turn our attention to greater ethical considerations and human focus.

This became especially evident during former adviser to Mark Zuckerberg, Roger McNamee's talk  on Facebook and Google's use of people's data. Instead of selling our everyone's data to the highest bidder, both companies have the opportunity to help us with the vast amount of knowledge they possess. A large number of policy makers and politicians are ready to place high demands on the tech giants so that profit-seeking companies do not decide in the future in our shared online world.

Image courtesy of SXSW.


And no, the robots do not come and take over world domination: AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning were spoken by several speakers in a completely different direction than the horror scenario that sometimes controls the media image.

Trend 2: Augmented Reality

Development of AR was in many ways everywhere on SXSW and was in great style 'the talk of the town'. There were many references to Pokémon GO in particular, though everyone who mentioned it seemed tired of continuing to use that example.

Exactly Pokémon GO is an example of place-based AR, which is a much debated topic within AR right now - creating smart solutions that connect to a specific place and are the starting point for the solution. The possibilities are many, but the strong solutions are few. This is what the author Charlie Fink, who is behind several books on 'convergence', pointed out in his talk. According to him, there is still a long way to go before the smart technologies are so smart that they can be commercialized.

For him, it's about "technology succeeds when it makes what we're already doing, better, cheaper, and faster" - a place we haven't come to yet with AR. Charlie Fink's publications are highly recommended if you want qualified guesses as to what our digital future will contain.

Trend 3: Are we ready for it at all?

The buzz word above them all at this year's SXSW was 5G. The smart technology that will make our mobile internet even faster and which offers huge opportunities to create real-time update solutions. But there is a long way to go before it can actually be done.

To refer to Charlie Fink again, for example, he described how technology right now would in no way work in Manhattan. 5G cannot penetrate buildings with steel without having amplifiers installed. A little detail that not many people are aware of.

Trend 4: Female empowerment and #metoo

Although #metoo has some years in the field, the topic is more in focus than ever in the tech and media industry in the United States in particular, and was one of the big themes at SXSW. Where the #metoo wave has subsided in Denmark, it is, if possible, greater than ever before in the US, if one is to judge by the official program at SXSW. The focus is on creating a culture where women are worth as much as men and whose words are weighted just as much as those of male colleagues.

It was largely addressed in talks by, among others, Susan Fowler , the woman who opposed the tech giant Uber , Allison Yarrow, the author of the bestseller "90's Bitch" and the young politician, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez .

Being at SXSW and gaining knowledge and inspiration helped Filmby Aarhus and CC get up to date with the latest trends, hook up with an international network and raise the profile of CC and the North Sea Region as well as supplying links for us to help companies and freelancers.