Attendees looking to ease their minds and bodies into EventTech on the second day of the show kicked off their day at 6:30 with either a 5K run to see some Vegas sites, or sun salutations with morning yoga.
At 7:30, a chance to fuel up with breakfast burritos and casual conversation before the 8:30 morning keynote featuring Oliver Luckett, author of “The Social Organism,” who broke down his revolutionary theory of social networks, and how they mimic biological life.
“People are organizing themselves not just around celebrities and influencers, but organizing themselves around affinity,” Luckett says.
“Social media is the first network built up of all of us; it’s not a top-down approach, it’s not a monolithic concept. It’s that everyone in this room is a participant in it.”
Some of these characteristics include: that “life is metobolic and needs nourishment,” and social networks need nourishment through content that tap into human emotions. That sharing a piece of content is a form of reproduction. That “life evolves,” and in the social network, cultural ideas evolve over time—just look at memes and cultural currency. Mind. Blown.
“If we look at what we have created together technologically, there are amazing, hopeful signs that can come out of it all if we simply act responsibly—at an individual cellular level, if we participate in the systems openly, and if we have transparency in these systems, then we can evolve to become a more peaceful and sustainable society,” Luckett says.
He expanded on his theory and more during a candid fireside chat following the keynote, and signed free copies of his new book released worldwide on Tuesday.
Sessions kicked off in our signature full-steam-ahead-style at 9:45 where the first wave of gurus and experts took to the stage to start the day’s content program. Attendees could choose from five Learning Labs inside the campus for 30-minute, fast-paced sessions. Among them, next-gen beacons and the physical web. South by Southwest’s intelligent app. Video streaming forecasts. And that’s just the first wave, people. Under Armour presented on its VR-activated barricades in Boston, Ford walked us through its immersive Rouge Factory Tour experience, and two IBM event executives cracked open the company’s event management toolkit.
At noon, it was time to break for the 2016 Experience Design & Technology Awards Gala hosted by Event Marketer’s Associate Publisher Jeff Fortmann and Content Director Jessica Heasley. (We heard they had Billy Crystal on speed dial). Cold seafood salads, shrimp and Asian noodles and an assortment of small-bite desserts were enjoyed as winners took to the stage to accept awards while dynamic case studies were broadcasted on the big screens. Congratulations to all the winners—check out the full list here.
We jumped right back into it at 1:45 with a full afternoon, including Gen Z profiling with Ferrara Candy, intuitive controls for VR, b-to-b event technology automation, and digital content distribution and eye-tracking technology.
After a half-hour coffee break at 3 p.m. (and a chance to sneak in a few extra tech test drives in the campus) we finished out the day with storytelling and cinematography for VR with Samsung, micro-influencers, and data-driven events with Lexus and Pandora, and much, much more.
How do you wrap up one keynote, an awards program and 40 content sessions? With Happy Hour in the campus, of course. Our friends at Maotai supplied cocktails to pair with tacos, cheese plates and other nibbles. Later, more than 50 attendees headed over to Carmine’s for the annual family-style dinner and networking event at 7:30. Afterward—more cocktails and tunes, and dueling pianos, at the infamous Piano Bar at Napoleon’s at The Paris.
Of course, it’s too difficult to capture the day in one post, so we’ve curated a list of quotes, tweets and insights from the learning labs. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more scenes and insights. For those on-site, call us out and share your favorite learnings. Our final recap drops tomorrow.
“Once we establish the client objectives, we need to make a [mobile tour] measurement strategy that is meaningful, modular, consistent, objective and repeatable.” —Nathaniel Bagnell, Director-Customer Engagement and Development, LiveGauge
“Snapchat has a huge opportunity for event marketers because it’s about sharing experiences. It’s not about advertising.” —Matt Brown, director of digital, Legacy Marketing Group
“The two highest levels of [virtual reality] utility are to simulate an experience you aren’t necessarily able to have or that’s seen as premiere or VIP. The other is to absolutely defy realism. Put somebody in an environment that doesn’t really exist, and probably couldn’t [exist] based on the laws of physics.” —Elizabeth Poston, Senior Director, Helios
“Eye tracking is all about helping you harness attention and make sure your efforts for branding, content and messaging are being seen and heard.” —Keith Bartels, Research Director at Tobii Pro
“Influencers with smaller followings have more engaged audiences… You see diminishing returns the bigger you get as an influencer.” —Matt Brown, Digital Director, Legacy Marketing
Eight Reasons Conversational Interfaces (like Microsoft Cortana and Apple Siri) are a Hot Topic:
1. Voice services are popular.
2. Messaging apps have surpassed social networks in popularity.
3. Distribution is available.
4. The tech is getting really good.
5. The tech is opening up.
6. Marketers are adding them to their DX ecosystems.
7. We’re past the peak of the hype—and on our way into the trough of disillusionment.
8. It’s still buzz-worthy. —Brent Turner, Senior VP at Cramer
3 Things to Consider for On-Demand Programs:
1. Find your niche and what works for your brand.
2. The brand experience is not about the technology used but in servicing your consumer.
3. On-demand experiences work when they are done right. Things often cost a lot of money to do them right. Do the math. —Alex Frias, President of Track Marketing Group
“In 2016 SXSW had 6,000 events, perhaps even 150 events happening simultaneously; 600 venues; 72,000 attendees. We rely on smart technology to facilitate the event. Without great technology it can be frustrating.”
“Beacons have taken off in the event context. They’re part of the furniture at SXSW.”
“Thinking apps that know you and can make personalized recommendations curated just for you can make a huge event feel small again.” —Scott Wilcox, Partner & Chief Innovation Officer, SXSW
What Corporate Events Can Learn from Festivals
“Choice is a huge deal for festival attendees. They want options such as different levels of VIP upgrades and other things that don’t cost them money. They want a ton of stuff to do and to choose their own path.” —Kent Underwood, Principal, LEO Events
“Cognitive capabilities are becoming more and more critical. We need to deliver a cognitive experience, predict interest for a recommended path, sessions, peers and SMEs (small to medium enterprises). Cognitive is changing the way we think about and do events.”
“The vast amount of data that we have about our attendees had significant impact on our business once we started using that data. We can create a personalized journey for each and every individual, drive a cognitive experience for the client, scale event costs, merge a campaign model with events. All this data helps us shape the next event and craft the attendee journey.” —Colleen Bisconti, VP-Global Events, IBM
How to Use IBM Watson
“Garbage in, garbage out. Watson learns from the information you feed it. If the information is bad or corrupt, what you get out of it will not be great. Organizing the data is vital.” —Thomas Thompson, COO, bloomfield knoble
“Our events used to be manual. They involved a lot of excel spreadsheets and Vlookups, and that was okay. It was manageable for a while. As we started acquiring companies and grew organically, it has brought new events and expectations to the portfolio and bigger requests for reporting. In order to get budgets to support all this, we needed to be able to show ROI.” —Jaclyn Sass, Senior Manager-Event Marketing, Merkle
“Polling too often gets a rep for being a replacement for a show of hands, but it can do messaging and reporting that make it a lot more dynamic. A platform that lets attendees engage as thoughts are coming into their heads is really powerful.” —Holden Bigler-Johnson, Business Development Associate, Americas, Lumi
“Communication is everything. Plan as best as you can, but there is a lot of improvisation that takes place. Don’t go at it alone. Numerous partners with incredible strengths to bring to the table are necessary. Build a strong network of people that you have confidence in. Expect the unexpected. There will be things that are funny in hindsight but presented real challenges. There is no replacement for good preparation. Ultimately enjoy it. It is a ton of fun.” —Dave Dyer, CEO, Manifesto
“The iPad is only six years old but it feels like it’s been around forever.” —Mark Shearon, Managing Director, Proscenium
“If you’re not producing something that’s better than reality, it doesn’t pay dividends to produce it at all.” —Hans Stolfus, Senior Manager, Experiential Marketing, Samsung
“Telling the real story with the real people doing that work, that’s what resonates with audiences and that is why so much of this is so powerful. It’s not just about the technology. It’s human-driven.” —Cynthia Jones, GM-Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Ford
Under Armour’s VR Barricade in Boston
“It involved so many people internally at Under Armour to keep us all on track, our global store construction team to our visual merchandiser laying out where the product is going to lie in the store, to our creative team building assets and deciding what fabrics go in what place… our content creative team… I needed to make sure we were all talking so this experience was as spot on as possible.” —Christiana DiMattesa, Senior Retail Marketing Manager, Under Armour
“A lot of brands are saying, I want to do live streaming and let’s do it on Facebook Live, but you have to make sure you’re doing it of the right treasons, you have to figure out what your objective is as a brand and figure out what your guests care about, and then you can go from there.” —Karen Costello, Executive VP/Executive Creative Director, Deutsch
“What’s important to Gen Z is always staying head of the curb. It’s all test and learn, and if it doesn’t work we just move on.” —Jill Manchester, SVP-Marketing and Brand Strategy, Ferrara Candy
- EventTech 2016: What You Missed on Day One
- EventTech 2016: What You Missed on Day Three
- Live from Las Vegas: Winners of the 2016 Experience Design & Technology Awards