March 2019 marked my first ever trip to SXSW in Austin, Texas and what an incredible experience it was. I now get it – I understand why people return year on year.

Part-conference, part-festival, SXSW offers the chance to meet with truly fascinating people from across globe and hear directly from industry leaders on what they have to say when it comes to the latest tech trends and innovations.

Here a just some of the themes that stood out during my time at SXSW conference.

Artificial Intelligence 

Artificial intelligence remains a hot topic. From using AI to remove subjective bias within the hiring process, to saving lives through the prediction and prevention of car accidents, it seems AI is everywhere and having a profound impact across a diverse range of sectors.

There was clear focus on the way in which AI can offer real value and solutions to our day to day lives, making the little things easier, as well as discussion around the impact it is having on large corporations. Crucially, there was emphasis on understanding what the tech can do now, not just what it may be capable of in the future.

Audio Augmented Reality 

Bose chose SXSW to unveil their immersive audio sunglasses. Seen as 'the portal' to Bose AR, a first-of-its-kind audio AR platform, which combines the latest audio Bose products (manufactured after November 2018) with mobile apps. The platform promises users will experience a world that is “heads up, hands-free, and ears amazed”. And I have to say after trying them, they were pretty good!

Bose AR-enhanced app, Traverse, allows users to map their surroundings and explore immersive audio experiences. The “From Elvis in Memphis” experience allows users to listen to the music of Elvis Presley in a whole new way. Using spatial sound, users walk around a physical space and are able to feel like they’re right there in the studio with The King himself, as well hearing in detail, other musicians in the band.

Trust 

Or more specifically - distrust. Consumers are increasingly faced with cyber threats and the need to sift through vast quantities of unreliable information.

It is vital companies face these increased challenges head on in order to earn consumer trust and increase their willingness to embrace new technologies in a world where data-breach-headlines have become common place.

Podcasts

The key to an engaging podcast is storytelling - the ability to create a compelling and in some cases, challenging story for your audience. As an avid podcast listener, it was interesting to hear discussion around the impact podcasts are having not only for entertainment, but as a legitimate means for brands to create and distribute audio-driven experiences.

As the number of audio-based distribution channels and resources increase, brands and content creators can leverage so much more. As Anchor Co-founder & CEO Michael Mignano explained, "brands now need an audio strategy”.