SXSW is in full motion with it's Film Festival and Interactive programs that began last Friday. Joining those programs today is the opening of it's trade show floor, as well as the badge pick-up for the music festival that officially starts tomorrow (even though Coldplay and Imagine Dragons are playing tonight).
The floor has a good mish-mash of tech companies, travel commissions from various countries, new tech and gadgets, Chevy cars, and even a bar in the center of it all. About 300 company and brands are competing out there on the floor for attendee attention with giveaways, contests and activities. Here are a few that caught my eye.
1. NASA- Who could miss the huge rocket and their theme "First Step To Deep Space?" Several booth reps guide folks in to look at some of the latest applications that NASA is using as well as to show off a replica of it's next rocket. I had a moment to speak with Adam Corliss of ATK Launch systems, a NASA contractor, working on America's next crew and cargo launch vehicle (see photo in slide show).
2. Korea - "Gangs from Gangnam." The large booth caught my eye because it housed a variety of different products to check out. Lois Eiler explained to me that, "It represents some of the best of the best of what Korea is doing right now." On the edge of their area was a cute ap called "You can fold" that has been created to let people "fold origami" on your phone. The concept was hard for me because if I am going to fold origami in the traditional sense, I get a reward of having the little paper figure I created. This ap is just tapping the screen and "folding paper" digitally on the screen. Not sure how well that will go over in America.
However next to them was something more interesting; Motion comics with sound. Comics are leaping off the page everyday in greater numbers and going digital. Several US companies have made comics that have motion (or graphic novels). Tappy Toon is creating their own stories as well as working with outside stories to create comics that are inner-active and have sound. The inclusion of sound is the next step. What interests me on this topic is, at what point does a motion comic, with sound - become a cartoon?
The Korea booth had several other companies represented including a crowd funding concept that brings a music artists to you (your venue, your city, your country, etc) and then even shares in the profit they make from the event. For info on that check out www.Burudaconcert.com
3. The Wheel Of Fortune with "Drew Carrey." Well sort of. CBS didn't feel like flying in the host of the show so they set up a card board version right next to a working replica of the wheel used on the show to get people to the show case show down. the iconic show "The Wheel of Fortune" doesn't strike me as relevant to the SXSW event which prides itself on showing what's next, or predicting future trends, however, attendees walking the floor were having fun stopping off to spin the wheel. Those who got a dollar (just like the show) were entered to win some prizes like an I-Phone. Mallory Mason of CBS told me that they were at SXSW just spreading the word about the show.
4. Film Festival Flix- Now this booth seems like a very much appropriate subject for the convention. As I walked by a host was interviewing attendees and giving them awards for attending their show (inside their booth). It was cute and people were enjoying the experience. The actual site gives you access to the same content that shows at film festivals like Sundance and SXSW. There's a lot of fascinating and creative work being done and with a site like this people anywhere can have access to films that may not be able to garner a showing at a local theater nor a contract with a re-broadcaster like Netflix or similar. Check them out to see what's showing in the film festival world without actually traveling.
5. Sweden: Every other country has a booth on the trade floor. Some are huge, some small. The Sweden booth is dedicated to letting you know what artists from there are performing at SXSW. I spoke with Daniel Olsson who told me about the artists that are huge in his country and trying to introduce themselves to the USA at SXSW. He told me to look out for the performing DJ style duo, "Rebecca and Fiona," from Stockholm. Ten other bands from Sweden will performing as well. Check out Sweden @ SXSW for more info on the main site. Check out Sweden@SXSW for more info.
There are so many companies representing the latest and greatest, check out the slide show for more. These five are just a few of many that caught my eye and do not represent what's the best of the best.