SXSW 2015 digital trend roundup

SXSW-W
Amongst other things, March brings with it one hell of a party in Texas. South By South West- or SXSW as it’s affectionately known- is a multimedia, interdisciplinary festival like nothing else on the planet, taking over the city of Austin for seven straight days, and drawing in innovators, artists and creatives from across the world.
If you’ve been before then all this will be clear. No other bash allows you to go from watching a cutting edge band in an Irish bar to witnessing the latest of Google’s innovations being put on display. Music, technology, film, and more all make up this celebration of what’s new and about to be revolutionary, meaning it’s right up Smoking Gun PR’s street. Here are a few crucial trend developments discussed during the event, all of which every business with an eye on marketing should know right now.
 
Streaming apps are going to be huge. Probably. 
Last week we ran a blog on Periscope, the new Twitter app that allows people to stream live video broadcasts from their mobile device for anyone to tune into. A week before that we blogged on Meerkat, another of these platforms. Call us soothsayers, but at SXSW streaming apps have been a major talking point, not least given the amount of potential they offer for creativity.
 
The secrets of Google et al are in constant flux.
This might be stating the obvious, but Google and other search platforms are continuously changing the way they organise rankings and deliver results. We’ll never fully understand how this happens in real time- information on changes is drip fed after they are implemented. As such, the only way to respond is through ongoing evaluation and analysis of how your digital presence is performing, and why it’s performing in the way it is.
 
Video servicing for customers is a real requirement. 
Ever since Google+ introduced the Circles function, allowing people to video call one another in groups, brands have been experimenting with drop in, support and Q&A sessions for customers, enabled by the power of social video. Tune in, take a seat, and get advice from the horse’s mouth, as it were. With the advent of platforms like Meerkat the demand for this type of offering is set to go through the roof as video grows in importance.
 
Robots are our friends. For now at least. 
Stephen Hawking recently warned about the dangers of developing artificial intelligence, but we’re not convinced Judgement Day is around the corner, just yet. But investment in robotic technology is at an all-time high, with driverless cars becoming a reality, and specialist machines being built to respond to disasters and crises, thus reducing the risk to humans. Definitely a positive, there were plenty of robots on display at SXSW.
 
The Internet of Things is here to stay. 
It’s been banded about for years now- TIOT. Put simply, The Internet of Things basically means connected everything- from dogs to watches, kettles to toasters. Take a look at our blog on the strangest items currently linked to the web here. Oddities aside, there were more than 70 sessions in SXSW’s interactive programme that featured this concept, proof that the focus is continuing to fall on plugging in just about anything you can imagine.
 
Millennials are unsatisfied with the world, and you need to tap into that. 
Not so long ago, we ran a story on how millennials- AKA those between the ages of 18 and 35- are more interested in experiences than products. Well, it turns out the truth goes much further than that, with members of this demographic expressing serious concern at The Way The World Is, and looking for more meaning in their lives. Think on if you have any corporate social responsibility campaigns or not for profit interests.
 
The year of the phone is finally here. 
Mobiles have been increasing in power for years, and since the iPhone their functionality has skyrocketed. Never before, though, have we seen such reliance on these handheld devices, with everything from central heating to health now being monitored by our mobiles. And that’s before anyone mentions ‘traditional’ uses such as web browsing, email, shopping, social networking and, err, calling mum.