SXSW 2022: What happened during the week

SXSW 2022: What happened during the week

How is SXSW 2022 performing as a hybrid event? We assessed the transmission for benchmarking. See our thoughts on it and the highlights of the week.

Customer Experience

Tiago Youssef

Tiago Youssef

March 18, 2022

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The SXSW 2022 Conference agenda during the week was full of talks about technology and some extra special entertainment and music announcements. Our team focused on the talks about the metaverse, technology, and artificial intelligence, and here are some of our takes.

You can also find our impressions from the opening weekend here.

How is SXSW 2022 performing as a hybrid event? 

Considering we’ve been watching the SXSW 2022 online event, we have some criticisms to make about the transmission. As said to be a hybrid event, it was a bit frustrating to watch some of the sessions where the sound was so low, barely being able to understand what the speakers were saying.

Also, it is such a great opportunity to have a Live Chat during the talks, but in most of the events they were disabled. The ones that had it on were full of interaction between users, giving their point of view, and having live engagement and inputs between watchers. The tab with Q&A seems to be there just for show, as speakers were simply ignoring what was happening online, and only answering attendees who were physically there.

But, as someone who wanted to see most of the talks, being able to move around the rooms was very interesting and this made it possible to watch a great variety of events. Another great point was that most of the talks were made available on demand after a few days, or even on the following day giving us even more time to watch something we might have missed – or in some cases, rewatch what we had really enjoyed.

With so much to discuss and to watch, here are our top choices for the week:

Transforming Social Commerce: AR Beauty Tech & NFTs with Perfect Corp. and E.L.F. Cosmetics.

Have you ever thought about how beauty brands are dealing with the new reality of AR, Online Shopping, and the Metaverse? In this talk, Perfect Corp and E.L.F. Cosmetics showed how they are already tackling this subject with their audience, and especially how AR is being a great ally when customers need to try a product online. It is a huge opportunity for brands to connect with consumers, build a community online and drive sales conversion.

Would you buy cosmetics using just AR and AI-powered virtual try-on technologies?; From what we’ve seen, this is what the future will look like.

Re-inventing Live Events for a Post-Covid World

We were expecting to see how technology will unite the real world with the virtual world. But for Rex Serrao (Salesforce), and Jeff Sinclair (Eventbase Technology Inc), they are completely different strategies. In their eyes, hybrid events are just a phase, a consequence of the pandemic, and are not here to stay, even questioning the reasons of who was watching the event in their homes, instead of taking a flight to Austin to watch it live. But as we can see in the chat in the image, the online audience felt differently about it.

Feature Session: What’s in a Metaverse?

These past couple of months, a lot has been speculated about and talked about over the Metaverse. Facebook even changed their name to Meta. But aren’t we already living and experimenting with the Metaverse? In this talk, Raffaella Camera (Epic Games), Charlie Fink, (Chapman University), Philip Rosedale (Linden Lab) and Timmu Tõke (Ready Player Me), touches on their experiences and discoveries since the creation of Second Life, going through massive live events, such as Ariana Grande and Travis Scott concerts happening at Fortnite, an online game. We’re about to undergo a big metaverse consisting of different metaverses, in their words: a multi metaverse. But one question was left to be considered: Do we have the infrastructure to be fully in the metaverse in the next couple of years?

Renee Gosline: In Praise of Friction

Finishing up the SXSW 2022 week in great style, Renee Gosline (MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology) gave a powerful speech on friction in the online world: “Friction is neither good nor bad, it’s what allows you to change direction”. Questioning the current AI technology we have, she even voiced a great statement, as a black daughter of immigrants: “Algorithms would never predict that I would be here”. Explicitly expressing the necessity of humanizing the system – and with diversity – she finished it up with some suggestions on how to increment automated processes. In case you missed it, here are the 5 steps we should take to make the most of #AI and #MachineLearning.

1. Ask: should AI be doing this? Can it?

2. Audit AI journeys for touchpoints that would benefit from added friction

3. Embrace the “discomfort” of inclusivity as good friction

4. Build a culture of experimentation testing before release

5. Eliminate “dark patterns”: asymmetric friction & digital lobster traps

Conclusion

With just a few days to go, SXSW 2022 is bringing so much food for thought to the table. Even though companies are already working on the future, maybe we have to take a step back and understand if the world is ready for all these changes. We can’t wait to see what will happen in Austin in the final South By Southwest weekend! If you want to keep updated, follow our live coverage: https://arena.im/sxsw-22/

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