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South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals in Austin, Texas, continues to amaze its attendees.

This year, the ReviewTrackers team once again conquered SXSW. We hung out at events, watched movies in our cozy Airbnb, ate amazing food at Forthright and Moonshine Grill, and fell asleep in a coffee house after hosting three events in 24 hours.

Amidst all the activity, the team also found the time to learn all the emerging new trends in technology at SXSW. 

Healthcare and Tech

There were a number of tech companies creating solutions for how to better communicate with patients, and how to deliver improved results across entire healthcare organizations.

Tech companies understand that doctor-patient communication is paramount, especially at a time when patients are writing (and reading) more online reviews of doctors than ever

That’s why healthcare providers and partners are automating patient engagement, connecting with patients for collaborative pre- and post-surgical care, and even rolling out new apps for transforming the patient experience.

Future of Social Media

Social media is changing fast. This year, Snapchat was a big deal at SXSW: the company made its historic IPO this month, the second-largest for a U.S.-based tech company.

Snapchat has more than 200 million global users and 10 billion video views a day. This year is the year Snapchat is predicted to “grow up,” Kimberly Price, senior content strategist at Merkley + Partners, tells Social Media Week.

According to Price, Snapchat will be “an unexpected driver of innovation” in news media and journalism. “Snapchat will (also) start building out its data collection and analysis, but in a way that serves its users rather than its advertisers. Think stats that reveal the pulse of secret consumer opinion.”

Customer Sentiment

There were also lots of SXSW events about pulling real-time customer feedback, analyzing unstructured data, and extracting customer sentiment data and emotion in ways that improve customer experience.

The ReviewTrackers team hosted one such event,“Customer Social”, which also featured tech companies like Conversocial, PowerReviews, Emma, and Converseon.

At Customer Social, we talked about how companies can interact with customers at different stages of the customer journey, as well as how to apply best practices in social media marketing, online review management, e-mail marketing, and customer experience management. 

Women in Business and Tech

Women in tech and digital media was a big theme this at SXSW, which is generally more diverse than most tech conferences to begin with.

Women-focused events centered on topics such as amplifying the voice of women in business, why women in tech matter, and investing in women.

A greater number of women also made keynote speeches, were featured speakers, spoke on panels, and attended the conference than in years past.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence was one emerging technology that everyone at SXSW was talking about. There were several panel discussions about AI and, according to NPR, 50 percent were dystopian and 50 percent were optimistic.

At Humans and Robots, featured speakers Dr. Ishiguro and Dr. Nigashinaka had a conversation with a very human-like robot.

At another robotics talk, roboticist Matt Rendall discussed how automation related to the future of global manufacturing. He took a deep look into the reality of technological displacement, an evolution that replaces mundane jobs to improve quality of life and the economy, and which describes how the rise of robots could engender a new industry.

Machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed, was another major theme. There was even a talk about how machine learning could soon change the way we eat, and how advances in deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing could soon be used to structure food data, surface relevant food-related content, simplify cooking, and farm more efficiently. 

(ReviewTrackers is all in on this particular technology trend. Our Trending Topics feature is powered by advanced natural language processing and machine learning technology, helping businesses discover customer insights and high-impact trends and patterns affecting customer experience.)

Transformations in Marketing

Marketing is evolving and transforming – that was evident at SXSW.

“SXSW was a good opportunity to see the ways in which we are all trying to figure out better ways to interact with customers,” says Chris Campbell, CEO of ReviewTrackers.

We look forward to next year’s SXSW as technology continues to change the way we operate, interact, and understand data.

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Megan Wenzl

Megan is the Associate Editor for ReviewTrackers. She's a writer who is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.