South by Southwest (SXSW) is a yearly compilation of conferences and festivals that has been around for 25 years. SXSW draws together some of the most imaginative thinkers in the fields of film, music, and interactive media. It is known for its abundance of creative content, which is quite prevalent this year.
So far, the SXSW Interactive conference, which involves all of the new media, has showcased some stellar ideas. The somewhat smaller SXSW Technology Summit, however, includes presentations on technology and business and has just begun. Nevertheless, some great tech-related ideas have already emerged.
Every year, SXSW includes a “Startup Bus” competition. The Startup Bus takes off from 5 cities: Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Cleveland. These buses are bound for Austin, and take two days to get there. Within those 48 hours, teams are formed and they are tasked with coming up with a startup idea and then creating a website and prototype. They then present their idea to a panel of judges when they reach Austin.
These teams aren’t given much time but, for them, it’s enough. This year’s teams came up with some great ideas – two of which were selected as the winners of the competition.
The medical tourism industry is difficult to navigate, and TripMedi is hoping to solve that issue. Medical tourism is when somebody travels to a developing country for a medical procedure in order to save money.
According to the TripMedi team, there is no clear way to navigate this market, making it an even more unnerving experience for medical tourists. So the team decided to create a Yelp-like service for the industry.
Now, people interested in medical tourism can find a comprehensive list of services, prices and physicians all in one place. The site has already seen 1,300 unique visitors and 44 sign-ups, and it’s only been live for four days.
WalkIN deals with the all-too-common problem of cramming into a restaurant lobby while waiting for a table. Dozens of hungry, grumpy people are stepping on each others toes, hoping that their name will be called next.
WalkIN gets rid of one of the biggest pains of waiting for a table by allowing you to roam while you wait. You can simply go into the restaurant, check in using a QR code, and then wander around until you are alerted via phone that your table is ready.
People no longer have to carry around big, cumbersome restaurant pagers that vibrate incessantly until you make it back to the host stand.
As these startups demonstrate, SXSW is a melting pot of innovative thinkers and always produces stellar ideas. There are bound to be more fascinating ideas emerging from SXSW, so stay tuned.
For more information on SXSW, check out the website.