March 15, 2019
Alexandra Bohigian

Enola Labs creates custom strategy and products for mobile and web.

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The 33rd annual South by Southwest conferences took Austin, Texas by storm from March 8th through March 17th, 2019. If you missed this year’s SXSW panels, activations, and festivities—we’ve got you covered. These are the top technology events and trends we noticed at this year’s SXSW, which may very well set the stage for what to expect in tech the rest of this year.

Tech regulation is up for debate

Does the technology industry need more regulation to improve competition and protect consumers? This question was poised in more ways than one throughout SXSW. At a time where Facebook, Google, and Amazon dominate the technology industry as a whole, some entrepreneurs reported finding it difficult to innovate in an industry where they will get beat out by a tech giant.

As for the majority of tech professionals and consumers, most say they want a middle ground when it comes to tech regulation. For example, a rollout of regulation on data privacy and how data is utilized, without necessarily breaking up the major tech giants, could be quite popular.

Walmart wants to be known as a tech company

When we think Walmart, we don’t typically think about technology. However, Walmart and Amazon have been in stiff competition in the online retail space, and yet no one bats an eyelash when Amazon is referred to as a tech company.

CTO of Walmart, Jeremy King, told the SXSW crowd that Walmart has a machine learning team and some of the top apps in the world. He expressed that Walmart has been expanding VR headsets to be sold in stores, among other innovative consumer technologies, and even has machine learning powered robots in some of their stores. So, while consumers may never give Walmart the credit of being a technology company, Walmart is certainly working on changing that.

Tech takes center stage, even at SXSW EDU

SXSW EDU is a track within the South by Southwest conferences that aims to foster innovation in the way we teach and learn. The conferences at SXSW EDU were attended by educators, administrators—and tech companies.

This year, there was a huge tech component to the EDU track. From augmented reality learning tools to classroom management software, SXSW EDU was packed with opportunities for those in the education sector to learn about technological innovations that will change the way future students are educated.

Robots fuel creativity and entertainment

Would it even be SXSW without some talk about robots? Sony did not disappoint with their activation this year, shining a more entertaining and fun light on AI and robotics. With so much talk about AI taking everyone’s jobs or causing mass destruction, Sony’s WOW Studio took a lighter approach.

The activation featured AI-assisted music composition technology to “augment creativity of artists in music”, according to Sony. Attendees played in various rooms as tech and creativity blended together. There was, of course, robots—including an installation with robots who communicated with one another as they were influenced by the audience watching.

Until next year, SXSW

While those of us living and working in Austin are certainly ready for the calm after SXSW, this year’s conferences taught us a lot. From augmented reality and robots to music and film, South by Southwest is absolutely something worth experiencing. While those of us in Austin breathe a sigh of relief that the 10 days of conferencing have come to an end, we also anxiously await what 2020 has in store.

Interested in learning more about the top software developers in Austin? Enola Labs has consistently been named one of the top software development teams in Texas, and we are proud to be located right here in Austin, TX. Shoot us a message to set up a discussion. We can’t wait to learn more about your project.