For 2015, the SXSW Interactive Festival includes more than 800 total sessions as well as dozens and dozens of competitions, exhibits, and networking events. This scale of programming means that identifying big-picture trends can often be challenging. But every year, a handful of topics that gain more buzz, more discussion and more media attention than others do tend to separate themselves from the pack. Read below for the 10 trends that we feel will gain the most traction March 13–17 in Austin.
- The startup economy continues to grow and grow. This continued growth has led SXSW to double the amount of space devoted to startup-related content in 2015 as compared to what was offered in 2014.
- International participation at SXSW Interactive is also seeing a sharp increase. Much of this international growth comes within SXSW Startup Village, which more-so-than-ever-before reflects the global entrepreneurial movement.
- From self-driving cars to alternatively-fueled vehicles to automobiles that can achieve flight to revolutionary ride-sharing programs, the transportation sector is undergoing dramatic changes — and these changes are well-represented in 2015 SXSW programming.
- Closely related to these changes in transportation is the evolving landscape of delivery. More consumers want to be able to get more products more quickly, and the market is quickly adapting to these needs. Expect many sessions this March to focus on next generation delivery ideas.
- Robots are gaining more traction and becoming more family-friendly. At SXSW 2015, registrants can playfully interact with the machines that will be the backbone of our automated future at the three-day Robot Petting Zoo.
- Social media has always been a big part of SXSW Interactive. In 2015, we will delve a little more into the dark side of this medium (ranging from the menace of cyber-bullying to the social media skills of terrorist organizations).
- We are closer and closer to a future where all objects are connected via the Internet of Things. At the 2015 SXSW Interactive Festival, more than 70 sessions make some mention of this term.
- More and more geek innovation / disruption is targeting the health and medical industry. Building on the success of last year’s keynote speech from Anne Wocicki of 23andme, 2015 sees the launch of the inaugural SX Health and MedTech Expo.
- Millennials want many things — including more meaning in their lives. The rebranded SXgood umbrella of programming is a place where tech entrepreneurs, content creators and non-profits can brainstorm new ideas for a better tomorrow.
- The barriers that have traditionally separated creative the music, film and interactive industries are increasingly obsolete. Witness the expanded selection of Convergence programming at SXSW 2015.
Click here to learn more about the 2015 SXSW Interactive Festival, which is scheduled March 13–17 in Austin. If you can’t make it to Texas for this year’s event, then be sure to watch the live stream.
Dates for next year’s SXSW Interactive Festival are March 12–16, 2016. Speaking proposals for the 2016 event will be accepted in July 2015. Startups are also encouraged to check out SXSW V2V, July 19–22 in Las Vegas.
Photo from SXSW Interactive 2014 courtesy of Vanessa Velazquez.