SXSW Interactive 2016 Wrap-up: Emerging Tech & Mobile Trends

March 17, 2016 - 3 minutes read

SXSW Interactive VR gaming

SXSW Interactive has an uncanny knack for guessing what’s next in tech. Ever since Twitter caught on like wildfire at the 2007 gathering, throngs of iPhone app developers have migrated south each year to get in on the ground floor of the latest tech innovations. (And consume a lot of craft beer and Texas BBQ.)

The festivities may be over, but we’re happy to report that the expo did not disappoint. Here are a few of the technologies and trends that took center stage:

1. Virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) stole the show this year, with more VR game and product demonstrations than iPhone app developers could shake their selfie sticks at.

Some of our favorites included the Samsung VR restaurant takeover and the VirZoom pedal-powered workout gaming experience. (You haven’t lived until you’ve ridden a fire-breathing dragon through the misty mountains.)

VR gaming could literally add another dimension to mobile app gaming over the next couple years.

2. On-demand services

This year’s trend with the biggest implications for San Francisco iPhone app developers was on-demand app services.

In particular, Favor Delivery’s Benjamin Doherty put on a pragmatic look at the sustainability of the on-demand app ecosystem. How can businesses and iPhone app developers move forward without falling into the “Uber-for-X” trap? The answer may involve a heavy dose of old-fashioned community.

3. 3-D printing

From a peek at the future for ultra-fast printers to discussions of applications in space tech, 3-D printing nabbed a big slice of discussion and played a huge role in numerous hack-a-thons.

4. Self-driving cars

Public sentiment about self-driving cars is quickly changing from skeptical to assured.

Chris Urmson of Google took the stage to discuss the company’s long-term vision for self-driving cars and some of the issues surrounding them, promising a future where anyone can summon a ride regardless of age or disability. (Not to mention get from point A to point B without traffic jams.)

SXSW: looking forward

Technology futures weren’t the only issues on the table, and the ultimate highlight for many iPhone app developers was President Obama’s keynote speech on encryption and the startup industry.

While many in attendance disagreed with the President’s moderate stance on the Apple-FBI court case, it was absolutely inspiring to have the discussion take place in such an open environment.

Next year, we expect to be tuning in from a VR headset.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,