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SXSW: The Highlights

SXSW: The Highlights

Posted on Mar 21, 2016 by

In the blink of an eye, SXSW has wrapped up its final events just last Saturday, leaving attendees in awe once again. This year, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama opened the event with their keynote presentations, making this the first time in SXSW history that a sitting president and the First Lady attended the event. Additionally, Drake made a surprise guest appearance headlining at The FADER FORT, leaving fans with their jaws to the ground as he released the announcement of his upcoming ‘Views From The 6’ tour. Finally, virtual reality was the newest breakthrough trend this year at SXSW, as multiple companies released their latest inventions in the digital industry.

The President and First Lady’s Remarkable Keynote Presentations

It was an honor to have both the President and First Lady in attendance at SXSW this year. Their inspiring keynote speeches set a precedent for the entire week. Michelle Obama’s opening keynote was moderated by Queen Latifah and also featured special guests Missy Elliot, Diane Warren, and Sophia Bush to discuss the importance of girls across the globe to receive an education. Through the power of music, The First Lady used lyrics to speak to women and mobilize them to come together to fight for the betterment of society.

President Obama also kickstarted SXSW Interactive with his thought-provoking speech last Friday. The president addressed the recent talks over the FBI’s legal battle with Apple in regards to the company’s refusal to allow the feds to uncover data in the iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorist. Obama used this time to ameliorate the tensions between the government and the tech community. This was a very strategic way for him to explain from a more personal standpoint the reasoning behind the government’s actions in regards to our privacy rights on our phones. Obama also emphasized the importance of technological advancements and how it can play a huge role in governmental practices, such as the voting process. President Obama made an outstanding impression on the thousands of attendees at SXSW this year.

Drake’s Unexpected Guest Appearance

On the last night of SXSW, Drake turned heads when he walked on the stage at The FADER FORT in downtown East Austin. After performing his six-song set, which included his hit single “Hotline Bling” along with other hits and collaborations that he performed with his OVO Sound crew, Drake ended the show with a bang: the announcement of his upcoming ‘Views from the 6′ tour. Drake stole the show as he told the crowd that he will be returning in Austin during the tour very shortly to perform his full set on his new album.

Check out the live performances of his songs from the night here. 

Virtual Reality: The Latest in the Digital Industry 

Each year, SXSW sets the stage for what technological innovations are to come in the near future. This year, the virtual reality Melbourne track had tech junkies going wild, as they were able to test the latest inventions in the tech industry. In particular, McDonald’s used the ability of VR to paint a picture of what it would look like inside one of their top-selling items: The Happy Meal. McDonald’s took VR to the next level as they associated the virtual experience with a new form of advertisement. Now, the question remains: will this be the new direction that marketers will take in serving ads to us?

Avegant also introduced the new Glyph headset at SXSW after a long two-year development process. The Glyph headset is a personal theater that looks similar to headphones, but the top part is over the eyes, offering a completely holistic experience away from reality. With no screen in the device, the Glyph headset uses the latest in Retinal Imaging Technology to give a more natural image and visual format. Virtual reality is taking off by storm, and attendees at SXSW were the first to experience these latest inventions.

 

SXSW just keeps getting better as the tech industry continues to rapidly evolve. We are excited to see what new innovative experiences, speakers, and musicians SXSW 2017 will bring to our city next year!

Jenna Meltzer

Public Relations Student at UT Austin; Social Media and Marketing Intern at HMG Creative; Follow her on Instagram @jennameltzer

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