There were a few common themes at SXSW Interactive this year. Below are some thoughts from the more memorable tech centered sessions.
Internet of Things Too Smart?
Yes, this is happening. Smart things will soon be everywhere. There are a lot of social and cultural questions raised as we move forward. Will smart objects have the power to change our cultural values? Will the big data collected from smart things belong to the few. Should we trust these companies with our data? Should we demand access to our data? Perhaps digital literacy is the larger concern. Will the masses understand enough to care? It will likely take consumer demand to force platform openness.
Designing Smart Objects for Emotion
One panel cut right to the heart of the matter. Smart objects should evoke emotion from people. By tapping into our emotional intelligence, tech can enhance our relationships with ourselves, other people and our environment. When designing we should focus on how an object might affect our motivation, self expression and empathy.
Wearables are here, but they haven’t reached its potential. How can we create a wearable valuable enough to be adapted by the masses? One path might be to consider what experience the user might have if the device were inside a body rather than being worn. Another idea may be to fully separate devices by use cases (health monitoring, fitness, etc.) and mainstream functionalities (notifications, directions, etc.). Either way, to create a truly powerful wearable you must first understand the person wearing it and their motivations. Only then can you create inspirational and truly valuable technology.