CommonSense Blog

Panel Picks: Top SXSW Tech Panels

By Alexandra Vaughn | Feb 17, 2017

SXSW is a unique time in Austin, TX. Since 1987 this annual festival has scaled in both size and the array of industries represented. Whether you are invested in music, film, comedy, healthcare or tech, SX provides a space for innovation, disruption and networking that is largely unmatched. Here at W2O Group we take part in the festivities in our own way, and hosting a few stellar events of our own!

However, SXSW can be a double-edged sword. With access to so many amazing speakers and talent, deciding which panels to attend can be difficult. Luckily our Tech team waded through the plethora of panels and curated a group of tech-focused events meant to inspire application of new or old innovation to better reach your audiences. From NASA’s next telescope to the state of the internet, we’ve got you covered.

(Event summaries provided by SXSW.com)

March 10, 2017

W2O Group’s 7th Annual PreCommerce Summit

9:00am-6:00pm

The PreCommerce Summit is one of our signature events (one track/one day) and is free to the 350 invite-only attendees. The event consists of a series of brief keynotes, 10-minute TED-like talks mixed with select 20-minute fireside chats and by industry leaders. The focus is on business innovation and spans the health, tech and consumer industries.

How Tech is Shaping the Future of Entertainment

11:00am-12:00pm

Pete Cashmore, Founder and CEO of Mashable, will sit down with leaders in the entertainment and technology space to discuss how television and film are working hand in hand with Silicon Valley to not only reach consumers in the new ways they’re watching videos, but adjusting their creative process based on new advances in audience data. The talk will cover a wide range of formats, from short-form and distributed channels to featured films to uncover where the future of television resides.

Imgur’s Fight to Keep the Social Internet Authentic

11:00am-12:00pm

Imgur’s brother-sister leadership team are at an inflection point. In just a few years, Imgur skyrocketed to millions of users and became one of the most-trafficked sites in the world. Now, Imgur is on a mission to democratize the social internet. In this session with Inc., hear how Imgur became the top social and entertainment destination by breaking people outside of their feeds and friends’ lists, and into a world of authentic, serendipitous content and community.

Live Q&A at SXSW: #AskGaryVee with Gary Vaynerchuk

12:30-1:30pm

You may have seen Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynotes or watched his day-in-the-life videos showing this business leader and true hustler in action. Now, get ready to go even more in-depth with @GaryVee in this SXSW edition of #AskGaryVee. In this talk, you’ll get to ask SXSW legend and master of business-building, marketing, social media, entrepreneurship and life-hacking anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to know. Expect no-holds-barred answers.

Tech’s Lessons for Healthcare

12:30-1:30pm

For all of the technological challenges and bureaucratic hurdles, the most important healthcare puzzles are among the most basic: how do you get people to follow their prescriptions, show up to doctor’s appointments, or modify their homes so they can live safely in the place they want to be. This panel will explore how inventive collaborations with Transportation Networking Companies (TNCs), Short Term Rental (STR) entities and others in the sharing economy can improve health outcomes.

March 11, 2017

Apprenticeships and Solving the IT Skills Gap

9:30-10:30am

There are nearly one million open tech jobs in the US today. This gap will increase significantly in the coming years, as older workers retire and the expansion of cloud, cybersecurity, and big data devices require more people to create, manage and monitor technology. Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the EARNS Act to expand apprenticeship in the U.S. Apprenticeship pairs on-the-job training with classroom instruction, and it’s one of the best ways to prepare workers to participate in the workforce, and to train loyal, skilled employees so businesses compete in today’s economy.

W2O Group’s 3rd Annual Movers & Shapers

10:30am-2:30pm

Movers & Shapers is our newest event and takes us back to our early roots of the PreCommerce Summit. With only 150 people in attendance, this event also leverages the 10-minute TED-like talk format with a few select fire side chats.

B2A Marketing: Selling to the New AI Consumer

11:00am-12:00pm

Increasingly the power of making decisions is being delegated to algorithms and “bots”. From self-driving cars to robo-traders, people are more-and-more comfortable allowing software to make critical day-to-day decisions. As comparison shopping tools, automated personal shoppers, and shopping bots mature purchase consumer purchasing decision-making power rapidly being ceded to algorithms, requiring that we completely reframe the marketing industry. To put it another way, the AI robot overlords are coming, and they have credit cards. This panel will discuss the potential implications and methods of a B2A marketing and the industries most likely to see an impact.

Dawn of the Labs: The Next Gen of Tech Innovation

11:00am-12:00pm

To keep up with today’s rapidly evolving digital economy, organizations have introduced “labs” programs, where an elite team of engineers has the freedom to think outside the box and test new solutions without the pressures of delivering immediate results or adhering to rigid roadmaps. On this panel, leaders of some of today’s most compelling labs programs will discuss why they’re breaking the rules and conventions of the past in order to build the products of the future. They’ll answer questions on why this is essential in the age of new technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and how these programs help identify and tackle new challenges.

Ready Or Not, The Bots Have Risen!

12:30pm-1:30pm

Advances in contextual search, and the rise of bots and digital assistants, are changing the way consumers search for and discover information. Executives from Yahoo, Facebook, Assist and Pandorabots, will discuss how this new interaction model will be the future of how we find the information we want and need from the brands we love, whether it’s from a bot or not

Payments Gone Viral: The Rise of Social Commerce

3:30-4:30pm

Augmented reality. Hashtag payments. Messenger bots. The payments space is fundamentally changing: cash and checks gave way to credit and debit cards, which are now being replaced by apps. In an era where social proof reigns supreme, how is social media shaping the future of commerce?

Extreme Medicine: Quality Care Anywhere

5:00pm-6:00pm

How would you treat a kidney stone on the way to Mars? What if a climber developed an excruciating headache on Everest? How would you know whether a serious respiratory infection is viral or require antibiotics in a field clinic in Malawi? Providing quality healthcare in extreme environments presents challenges and opportunities. Medical technologies must be portable, minimally invasive, and easy to use and maintain. Devices must be robust and require only low power and consumables. Meds need to be very stable and safe for a long time. Healthcare solutions meeting these high standards have commercial advantages in driving revolutionary care for more traditional settings. By setting the bar high, we are driving border-less innovation in medicine, and creating new business opportunities.

W2O Group’s 8th Annual GeekaCue

6:00-10:00pm

This eight-year long tradition started with 50 employees and clients out at local BBQ legend, The Salt Lick and has evolved into a 700-person party. This year’s event will be at the historic Scoot Inn and will feature Terry Black’s BBQ and two amazing bands . Oh, there will also be plenty of liquid refreshments and our mainstay photo booth.

March 12, 2017

The Future of Research: Capability or Culture

11:00am-12:00pm

Every medicine today was made available because people took part in clinical trials. Participation and awareness remains low, yet the future of our health depends on new medical advancements. Is it technology and data that will pull us up, or must we rely more heavily on culture change – and not just of scientists, but the general public as well?

Hot to Bot: Chatbots & the Conversational Economy

11:00am-12:00pm

Customers spend 90% of their time on mobile devices and rapidly migrating from apps to messenger platforms. In this Conversational Economy, communication and commerce will happen via Chatbot, disrupting the way customers interact with brands. This session will discuss the next battleground — the rise of the Chatbot — and how traditionally transactional brands are using A.I. and machine learning to transform the way they interact with customers, impacting their lives in a personalized, relevant way. Join the speakers as they demonstrate specific Chatbots transforming the way major brands across Retail, Telecommunications and Utilities engage with customers and, most importantly, make them feel like they matter.

Measuring Media: Big Dreams, Big Data

12:30-1:30pm

Human behavior is the soul of every big data algorithm. This typically includes observable behaviors (tweets, posts, reviews) and anticipated behaviors (intentions, product recommendations, suggested friends and articles). What is the value of the data hidden in our dreams? This panel explores the differential merit of two sources of data – conscious and non-conscious, unified by the same data currency: language. What can we tell about people based on the language they use- their interests and influences in each context? Are dreams a marketer’s next frontier?

Non-Obvious: Trends of the Future

1:00pm-1:30pm

Join trend curator Rohit Bhargava as he shares ALL NEW research from the latest edition of his best selling book Non-Obvious. How can a holographic Holocaust survivor offer a glimpse into a career of the future? How do self-repairing airplane wings predict the next trillion dollar industry? Learn the answers to these questions and how to use the power of non-obvious thinking to grow your business.

A City’s Pathway to Inclusion

3:30-4:30pm

Learn from mayors of large technology hubs on how they are working to forge new paths towards inclusive economies that support thriving tech & innovation ecosystems in a way that creates equitable opportunities for underserved populations. Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser will discuss the release of the District’s first “Pathways to Inclusion Report”, providing a roadmap to create an inclusive ecosystem where the tech and innovation economy can grow.

Is Government Disrupting Disruption?

5:00-6:00pm

Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb are a few of many companies whose business models have been challenged by government regulation of late, and it’s shaking up daily lives (notably so here in SXSW’s hometown of Austin, which Uber and Lyft left in May). Car insurance comparison marketplace The Zebra made its mark by disrupting a highly regulated industry despite complex state governing processes. Speakers will discuss how they’ve worked both with and against government regulation in achieving successful disruption (particularly in marketplaces such as travel, ticketing, and now insurance), and what some of the biggest hurdles have been and will continue to be.

March 13, 2017

Data & Insights on Powering a Connected Workforce

9:30-10:30am

There’s no denying the power of an informed workforce. Using exclusive data and insights recently pulled from thousands of employees using the Dynamic Signal platform, Jim Larrison, co-founder of Dynamic Signal, will share how companies can drive productivity using social and mobile communication platforms. Keeping employees connected and informed is a major pain point for many organizations. Gallup research shows that disengaged employees cost companies billions every year in lost productivity. But when knowledgeable employees are rallied behind a common narrative, they drive productivity and revenue. Join us to learn how best-in-class brands keep their workforce connected and informed.

Embrace Digital Disruption to Reinvent Healthcare

9:30-10:30am

While healthcare has lagged behind other industries in adopting new, disruptive technologies, consumer expectations have continued to shift. We live in a world where convenience trumps all, and most services are available at the push of a button. Why can’t healthcare be the same? This panel will discuss how patients will access healthcare in the future as the traditional care delivery system is augmented by digital innovations and how Baylor Scott & White Health has embraced these innovations by collaborating with entrepreneurs and startups to redesign traditional care models and simplify complex problems.

Zero Day Software Vulnerabilities: Deal With It

11:00am-12:00pm

Software of any complexity always ships with bugs. Given our reliance on a staggeringly complex web of data and services, how do we, and how should we, deal with these security vulnerabilities when they are discovered? What are the social, legal, and ethical norms around discovering and disclosing software vulnerabilities? This session is a guided tour through the semi-secret, often misunderstood world of vulnerability research and development and how it affects your life and business.

Best Behavior: Prompting Preferred Patterns

11:00am-12:00pm

 “Nudge theory is about hacking human nature using subtle, context-driven interventions. We all sometimes buy into the shampoo commercial dream that our products can make us into better people, but what if that were true? Thanks to IoT, we’re designing products that make and break our habits. We applied nudge theory to our healthcare wearable, Under Currents, to solve billions of dollars’ worth of medical errors and save lives. When common sense fails, common sensors help us be the best version of ourselves.”

GAFA: The Relentless Rise of the Tech Giants

12:30-1:30pm

 This session explores the rise of the big four tech companies – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. How will their relentless monopolization of so many industries affect competitors and consumers? Will the death of competition see reduced choice and rising prices? Should you be concerned for your privacy as you give up more and more data to a handful of companies? Will your view of the world narrow as fewer and fewer gatekeepers control the flow of content? From fake news to Alexa, come along to discover how GAFA influence every aspect of your lives.

Ray and Amy Kurzweil on Collaboration and the Future

12:30-1:30pm

Ray Kurzweil, best-selling author, recipient of The National Medal of Technology, and a director of engineering at Google, in conversation with his daughter Amy Kurzweil, New Yorker cartoonist and author of the critically-acclaimed graphic memoir, Flying Couch (NY Times: Best of 2016). The two will discuss their creative work, inspirations, and collaborations across disciplines, while speculating about the future of storytelling, the arts and technology

#Laugh: Creating Art Among the Stars

3:30-4:30pm      

World renowned artist Eyal Gever and Made In Space, Inc. founder & Chief Technology Officer, Jason Dunn discuss the inspiration and challenges of Gever’s vision to create humanity’s first sculpture in space. With Gever’s keen artistic sense, and Made In Space’s expertise in space based manufacturing, the two have come together to deliver something to the world that everyone can relate to: #Laugh

Movement Tracks: Where Biotech and Music Converge

3:30-4:30pm

This dynamic panel will provide examples of music’s power as a core catalyst to restore, maintain and enhance health by highlighting music biotechnologies developed to improve and recover the ability to walk for children with cerebral palsy and adults with Parkinson’s disease. Panelist will inform and discuss new possibilities to improve patient outcomes through the integration of music technologies, smart sensors and data analytics to improve both the scale and impact of global healthcare solutions initiatives to transform people’s lives.

March 14, 2017

Making the Leap from Dev Ops to No Ops

9:30-10:30am

Companies are navigating a global, online marketplace and the challenge they face is not “whether to become digital.” Instead, the focus is how to continually and efficiently transform a business for today’s digital marketplace—the key to being Agile. Many companies have already embraced DevOps in the enterprise, with organizations streamlining their process for pushing code out of test/development environments and into production. One of the benefits has been greater capacity for continuous delivery. The pivotal move is toward NoOps, defined by Forrester as “the goal of completely automating the deployment, monitoring & management of applications and the infrastructure on which they run.

Reimagining Death, A Design Challenge & Movement

11:00am-12:00pm

Dr. BJ Miller’s call to “let death take us, not lack of imagination” reflects a growing hunger to reimagine the personal experience of the end of life. Our final chapter, long the domain of family and spirituality has become shrouded in taboo and medical process. A growing movement to reimagine dying has emerged and was strengthened by the global conversation and collaborative innovation of OpenIDEO’s End of Life Challenge. This panel of diverse co-conspirators – an IDEO visionary, a health system innovation officer, a palliative care physician-agitator, and a health policy guru – discusses how seeing death as a design challenge is giving life to patient-centered movement for better endings.

Beyond B-8: When Robots Start Acting Human

12:30-1:30pm

Deep learning, a new wave of artificial intelligence research, is enabling technology to achieve the unimaginable. What happens when robots can learn, adapt and make intelligent decisions? This technology, enabled by the cloud and highly sophisticated robots, has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing, change our approach to rescue missions, more effectively administer medications and make self-driving cars a reality. And we’re creating the infrastructure to make it happen now. In this panel, organizations that are researching and implementing this technology will discuss the impact, risks and massive shift deep learning will bring to every industry and every day.

New Eyes on Our Home System: NASA’s Next Telescope

12:30-1:30pm

NASA’s upcoming infrared-optimized James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) offers scientists unique capabilities to measure changing conditions on planets, comets, and asteroids – and measure the atmospheres of extrasolar planets for key markers (ozone, carbon dioxide, and many others). The panel will discuss the discovery space for infrared space telescopes like JWST in Solar System and exoplanet science.

Psychopaths in Silicon Valley: A Guide

3:30-4:30pm

There are uncanny parallels in the description of a glorified tech exec or online troll and the clinical definition of a psychopath, and the latter can cause massive damage to an organization or community. How do you know if you’re working with/for a psychopath? How do you manage him/her? This panel features a clinician, social scientist, and venture capitalist, each with a different intimacy with psychopaths. Learn how to identify and deal with a psychopath, whether a colleague, troll or date from hell.

March 15, 2017

The State of the Open Internet In the Age of Trump

11:00am-12:00pm

History shows us how closed systems destroy innovation and tax entrepreneurs to death. In our fight to protect the open internet, we all have something to lose. Join me to discuss how this battle could shift with the unknowns of the Trump administration.