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SXSW 2015

South by southwest unites startups, great minds and industry leaders to look at emerging tech trends in our world.  A few of us from BBH had the opportunity to go and hear that they had to say.  Here are some of our favorite panels:

Arcades are Dead! Or are they?
There are few places young people go when they meet up with friends: the coffee shop, the restaurant, the bar, the movies and the mall. Though many think of Arcades as dark, dingy gaming dungeons filled with hard core gamers, the arcades of today are quite the opposite. They look more like a mix between a restaurant and a casino. They’ve been built for a mainstream crowd that is looking for new social experiences, and this concept is rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, 2014 was Dave and Busters best year ever. There’s also a huge trend of independent arcades opening up across America. Watch out for this space of entertainment options — like Top Golf and Gameworks — for people to play together.

Arcades are Dead! Or are they?
There are few places young people go when they meet up with friends: the coffee shop, the restaurant, the bar, the movies and the mall. Though many think of Arcades as dark, dingy gaming dungeons filled with hard core gamers, the arcades of today are quite the opposite. They look more like a mix between a restaurant and a casino. They’ve been built for a mainstream crowd that is looking for new social experiences, and this concept is rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, 2014 was Dave and Busters best year ever. There’s also a huge trend of independent arcades opening up across America. Watch out for this space of entertainment options — like Top Golf and Gameworks — for people to play together.


Meerkat 

Simple enough.  Tweet live Video to all your followers at once.  A direct competitor to Twitter’s Periscope.  It launched just a few weeks ago but it is already growing quickly.  Not launched at SxSw but was the talk of the town. Techies, brands and celebrities are all jumping on board.  Jimmy Fallon is a fan.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 9.18.16 AM

We Deserve a Second Chance: Ex-Prisoners-Speak
I joined this talk to learn from other issues inside the American nation and to explore the tactics they’re using to find real solutions. In this panel former prisoners and advocates shared the lessons they learned to help them make a successful transition back to society.

It was interesting to see how even after paying their debts, prejudice still hold them back. Most of them just saw a  future of possibilities when they decided to create their own business.

This is the same prejudice we see when trying to reach people about the hunger problem – the stigma that only lazy/poor people are the ones that depend on government help to afford food, really puts a barrier to find a true solution to the problem.


Chef, Reviewer, Guest: Who’s Got the Power Today
?
Most of the talks I attended were related to food, so we could reach the best influencers to join the cause. This one was particularly interesting: Chefs, food editors and a yelp director responsible for the Austin area – all gather to talk about how the power of social media now influences the way people interact, eat and discover food. Restaurants owners also responded to the impact of those reviews in their business.

The panel was open for questions and it was an opportunity to ask their opinions about the use of social media to change the behaviour of food consumers and to use it as an opportunity to solve hunger.

Preserving Local Food Artisans by Going Global 
Another very interesting talk about how we should create more opportunities for local markets and for the development of nutritional, high quality food not only to our nation but also to global distribution.

I learned about “Get Gone Traveler”, which is an amazing initiative to get foodies travelers to local kitchens/chefs for intimate and authentic gastronomic adventures – always focusing on the quality and respect for the food.

We spoke with Anna Smith, the CEO of the company and with Stephany Mcclenny, about the importance of making nutritious food available to the nation and they were very touched about our cause.

Moonshots and Reality
An incredible talk with Astro Teller, captain of Moonshots and responsible for GoogleX projects, he walked us through the process of several Google inventions such as the glass, project loon and the self-driving car. Not only about the technological part and innovations, but also about the humanity behind the projects, the frustrations of the daily developments and most importantly – the importance of failure to learn from your mistakes. The faster you fail, the closer the solution will be in front of you.

Astro was a real motivation and he really encouraged people to not wait to put an “idea” or “invention” to the world. The criticism and reactions are only there to drive you forward. #Envy

Video Games as tools to rewire the brain → How Video Games Are Disrupting Medicine & Education
Adam Gazzaley, Director and Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychology at the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the University of California, San Francisco and Daphne Bavelier, Professor of Psychology at the University of Geneva are both esteemed professionals in research around how gaming can affect the brain. Backed by recent and on-going research studies, the pair walked the group through the premise that action oriented games can be developed specifically to train the brain to operate differently. Video games have been shown to teach the brain to react differently, for example, making surgeons more efficient or precise in their surgeries. Research has also proven that in extreme cases, games  can even be developed to either prolong symptoms or work in partnership with popular prescription drugs to help combat or delay the effects of ailments and diseases such as ALS, MS, ADD, ADHD, depression, alzheimer’s, autism, dementia and more. Studies have shown that gamers’ reactions times become faster than non-gamers, and that some responsive games can even more effectively train the brain by responding to actions in real-time to challenge existing behavior and train new associations.

Follow the Money: Cyber Crime & the Black Market
Byron Achohido, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and Joel Lang, a Development Director at an Austin start-up that specializes in protecting individual and company’s financial security led a panel discussion around how easy it is for financial information to become compromised, and then sold or traded on the black market or deep web.

To display just how easy and quickly private information can be hacked, Lang’s company CSID set up a fake company and fake employee and purposely left it unprotected to track how quickly the information would appear on the deep web, within an hour, all company and personal identification information was stolen and up for sale on one of the deep web’s popular sites that sell identity information.

The two experts walked the crowd through average worth in dollars that certain pieces of identity information can yield on the black market, by country. Non-surprisingly, British and American credit card information and social security numbers topped the list, as their credit cards typically have the highest debt thresholds. The two also used examples that the crowd would be familiar with, like the Target breach, to illustrate just how expensive a breach like this is to the business, and how it could easily cost a small business everything. For example, hiring an investigative and legal team to cover the issue often starts at $200,000, more than most small business owners would be able to afford. A breach the scale of Target’s can cost billions to solve.

To bring it down to a personal level for non-small business owners, the pair asked the crowd how many of us used variations of the same password for everything – all memberships and accounts we have online. All but one person raised their hands. Lang described that this is extremely common behavior, even for someone like him who works in this industry and knows the risks all too well – it’s just too tough to memorize wildly different passwords for every account. Hackers know this of course, so often, when they have just one of your passwords, they can access almost all of your accounts online by trying a few different combinations with a new number.

One comment on “SXSW 2015

  • Mr WordPress
    September 17, 2015 | 7:51 pm

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