Our reaction to the top tech launches of South by Southwest 2015

April 01, 2015


South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of the world’s largest technology conferences that’s also expanded to feature film and music. Every March, it attracts tens of thousands of people to Austin, Texas. Tech trends and buzzwords abound, with the “next big thing” pitched at every corner.

Conferences like SXSW can be a launch pad for cutting-edge technology that transforms our lives. At Regis University, that resonates deeply with us. Regis students are instruments of change, combining their passions with real-life skills to reshape fields like humanities, health care and business. We care about practical, innovative technologies that’ll help tomorrow’s leaders make a difference in the world.

SXSW makes a lot of noise. Sure, it’s where Twitter gained fame in 2007, but there’s dozens of other breakouts that quickly fade into obscurity. The trick is picking the gemstones out of the gravel. Here are three trends from SXSW 2015 that we think will have a real impact on the world:

  1. Got a smartphone? Become a broadcaster

    Meerkat is a live-streaming app that lets you broadcast video through Twitter. It attracted major buzz during SXSW, particularly with news that Twitter invested $100 million in Meerkat competitor Periscope.

    Opportunity for impact? Major. Live-streaming technology is a powerful communication tool for today’s “real-time” news cycle, especially for politics and social issues. It has the potential to transform by shining a light on humanitarian and social justice issues that affect everyone. It gives you the power to become a broadcaster and insert yourself into issues that you really care about.

    Odds for success? With powerful content and passionate, ethical storytellers, live-streaming can thrive.

  2. Better tools to fight disease

    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) gave a presentation titled Fighting Ebola With Technology, Data and Innovation. They showed two new pieces of technology: a biomedical suit designed for ease of use and comfort and a “smart Band-Aid that monitors patients remotely.

    Opportunity for impact? Life-altering. Innovations like these from USAID are helping doctors and nurses battle diseases that affect the poor and marginalized. They also protect care providers, especially in remote areas where modern technology isn’t available. There’s an enormous opportunity to change the way we battle diseases like Ebola.

    Odds for success? The odds lie in the ability to get these new tools into right hands. Regis prepares future health care leaders to change the lives of people in their own communities. Improved technology takes that to a grander scale with the potential to impact the health of the entire planet.

  3. A new automotive industry

    The Connected Car Council (C3 Group) hosted a Connected Car Pavilion, featuring a keynote from National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) Administrator Mark R. Rosekind and FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen who discussed driver data and privacy. The auto industry is facing disruption from technology that aims to make driving more efficient and safer for passengers. Concepts like robot-driven vehicles and technology that lets vehicles communicate with one another to prevent accidents.

    Opportunity for impact? The opportunity is big, but it’ll take a new breed of business minds to impact a large, slow-moving industry, no matter how innovative the technology is. These business leaders will care just as much about impacting society as they do about improving profits.

    Odds for success? Near term odds are likely low, but with increasing consumer demand, out-of-industry players like Google and federal agencies with a vested interest in the mix, change will come.

Big ideas aren’t just born at SXSW – a degree from Regis puts you on the path to create something that could reshape an industry. How will you turn your idea into an instrument for change that can make a real impact on the world?