Open Road

Navdy On Tour: Behind the scenes at SXSW 2017

SXSW is renowned as one of the largest festivals in the world, bringing together a substantial mix of music, technology, and film across ten straight days. And this year certainly did not disappoint. 

Only at SXSW will you ever see a fully immersive King Arthur Legend of the Sword photo booth and automotive tech nestled side by side. Our "pod," where visitors could experience Navdy in the exclusive Mashable House, saw a seemingly endless line of people waiting patiently for their turn. As it turns out, augmented reality technology used to enhance driving is quite the draw!  

As you may have seen, we were broadcasting live from SXSW on Facebook as well as Instagram. We used this to show our pod in action, and even to give away a Navdy live on air. (Congratulations to our winner!)

Excited to try out my new @navdyinc that I won today at @mashable #mashhouse - cheers guys!
A post shared by Sean Cannon-Earley (@seancannonearley) on

On tour

For us, SXSW was not just about hanging out at the Mashable House. We also supported several artists as part of our Navdy On Tour music campaign (music being an integral feature of the Navdy device). In fact, our featured artists—Lincoln Durham, Little Hurricane, and Open Mike Eagle—spent the week navigating from gig-to-gig using Navdy, avoiding SXSW's notorious traffic. We shared their live shows on Facebook, as well as featured them on our SXSW Spotify playlist.

Look forward to the future

As well plenty of bizarre Austin fun and musical genius, there was plenty of buzz surrounding the future of the automotive industry. There were talks centered around President Trump's plans, as well as how Virtual Reality will play a major part in how we buy cars going forward. But the main focus was on self-driving vehicles.

Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, noted during his talk: "(Self-driving) vehicles will be ready by 2021, but will society?’ He continued: "The benefits to society will be real. But the impact on individuals? We need to start talking about that."

The opportunity self-driving cars present is fascinating: Our expert blogger, Brad Berman, recently predicted that self-driving cars mixed with augmented reality will make head-up displays a truly immersive experience. The motoring world, as we know it, is set to flip on its head.

Augmented Reality for the masses

Talking of augmented reality, that was another big conversation piece at SXSW 2017. While experts discussed the theory behind the technology, pop-ups invited visitors to actually experience it. National Geographic invited people into the mind of Einstein and brought their photo gallery to life. YouTube also had a house at SXSW where you could totally immerse yourself in videos. Even Bert from Sesame Street got involved with trying on the Meta 2 headset for The Mashable Show. (Of course, people saw how AR could impact their everyday life in our Navdy pod, too.)

With so many new applications for augmented reality, as well as driving innovations, SXSW 2017 was an exciting time for us here at Navdy—and indeed for all those interested in technology. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Austin is most definitely still weird. See below for some of the more unique activities from the Mashable House. 

Until next year, Austin.

Navdy Staff

Look forward