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SXSW re-cap: breakfast briefing take outs

Posted by March 25, 2014
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With Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Sir Tim Berners-Lee on the bill for SXSW 2014, privacy and internet freedom were always going to be high on the agenda. Gareth James (Chief Creative Officer at TMW), who spoke first at our breakfast briefing last week, distilled this by saying that SXSW 2014 had a more serious tone than in previous years and relayed the call to action from Sir Tim Berners-Lee: “I urge you, make the web that we want”.

Gareth went on to share highlights from Ben Essen’s talk on the “quantified self” and Jennifer Dunnam’s presentation on how smart objects can still be personal (see below for his deck, with more detail). Gareth finished by summing up what this means for designers, with his take outs including:

1. Avoid gimmicks

2. Think way beyond the screen

3. Calm down on interfaces (passive is good)

Nadya Powell (MD of MRY UK) was up next, talking about Hackney House and Millennial Mentoring – with her top tip to agency attendees being to get involved in Millennial Mentoring in 2015 to connect your clients directly to the future.

Nadya also shared insider knowledge on how to get the most from SXSW, including her advice that you no longer need a badge to have a rich and rewarding time. The range and depth of off-festival events and residencies (such as Hackney House) has now reached a level that simply being in Austin during the festival is enough. She also tipped the audience off about direct flights from London to Austin thanks to the BA partnership, and gave her ‘one to watch’ for next year as Maker Faire coming to Here East in Summer 2015.

Dean Parker (lead digital consultant, SAS) and Chris Giddings (Marketing Manager, Nice Agency) rounded out the morning’s briefing. Dean spoke on the role of agencies and brands in delivering connected experiences and referenced the uplift to come on Internet of Things, with 50million connected devices predicted by 2020. Chris focused on wearables and healthcare, and the threats and massive opportunities this poses. The other key trend picked out by Chris was around contextual systems, with iBeacon, roving content and immersive brand experiences becoming more mainstream over the course of this year.

The session finished with a brief audience Q&A and the panel added to the take outs above with their final tip to watch out for ‘making’ coming back into agencies, either directly or through partnerships. Do check out the slides from our four panelists below for more detail and insight, and we’ll also shortly post a blog based on Gareth Jones’s deck, which he sadly didn’t get to present on the day due to illness. [Update: this is now live and available here].

Our next Breakfast Briefing is on Thursday 24 April. Keep an eye on our events page for details and if you come along please join us in thanking Marc Abraham, product manager at Zeebox and volunteer BIMA Associate, who curates these events.

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