Seven SXSW Interactive Panels You Just Can't Miss

SXSW Interactive is just around the corner, and if you’ve taken a look at the programming, it’s no surprise that the sheer number of speakers, panels and presentations can be a little overwhelming. And no one wants to be that guy – you know, the one wandering around the convention center looking like a lost puppy because he’s just not sure where to go – and ends up with nothing to contribute over a beer that evening because he ended up stuck on the shuttle all day.

It means you need to plan in advance to make sure your session dance card isn’t just full – but full of incredible information.

We’ve made it easy for you to get started. We’ve scoured the panels and found at least one each day of SXSW Interactive that’s simply a must-see.  Use this guide to start your planning – and fill in sessions nearby to round out the day. That way – when it’s time for happy hour – you’re that other guy – the one everyone envies and with tons of new contacts to help your business.

On Saturday, March 12, we know you’ll want to sleep in a little after Friday night’s pre-game gatherings, so hit the snooze and then make your way to the Austin Convention Center by 11:00 a.m. for Smart Cars, Smarter Cities: New Transit Tech. This panel, featuring experts from the Consumer Tech Association and some of the coolest transportation apps around, will talk about “Smart” cities and how planners are using technology to address urban inefficiencies. You won’t believe how some of the data available is being used.

From there, grab a shuttle to jet over to the Westin, where at 12:30 p.m. you can experience Bio/Tech: DARPA's Moonshots for the 21st Century. You’ve heard of DARPA – they’re the agency that put stealth tech in the skies and GPS in your hand. This session’s all about sci-fi cool – that is, using biology and technology in tandem – think robot arms and neurotechnology. You’ll think you’ve walked right into a science fiction flick – but it’s really happening and the opportunities are endless. You won’t want to wait to hear what DARPA’s working on – and how you as an entrepreneur can get involved.

Have fun Saturday night, and then on Sunday morning, March 13, you’ll want to head to the Austin Convention Center first. At 11:00 a.m., don’t miss Get Your Goods: Unmanned Systems and 3D Printing for more on the latest in technology and delivery – things like autonomous cars, unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones) and 3D printing. Commercial drones will make rooftop-to-rooftop delivery services possible. Autonomous cars will fundamentally change our relationship with our vehicles, eliminating road rage from your daily commute. Hear from leaders with the CTA, Amazon, Ford and 3D Systems and learn how you can get what you want, when you want, and how innovative tech is making it happen.

Plan your calendar for the afternoon, but be sure you’re back at the Hilton Austin Downtown by 5:00 p.m. for BFD (Big Fat Data) Revolution. We know our phones are data collecting masters. But did you know what can be done with all that data? Innovative entrepreneurs are taking that data – available to any of us – and strategically using it to start multi-million dollar companies. Meet leaders from smart energy use to healthcare who've taken the data and turned it into dollars…and learn how you can do it too.

Our recommendation for Monday, March 14 fits along very nicely, because there’s simply no escaping the political agenda this year, and entrepreneurs and public data are becoming a very big part of the race. Grab the early shuttle and be at the JW Marriott by 9:30 for Tech at Issue in 2016 Election, where you’ll be able to dive into how issues around technology and entrepreneurship will impact politics and the presidential election. Learn how the tech community can influence the political process to make sure their issues are front and center.

It’s an early morning on Tuesday, March 15 for the last day of SXSWI, but trust us, it’s totally worth it. Suck down that extra cup of java and grab the early shuttle to the Hilton Austin Downtown by 9:30 a.m., where you’ll learn how to Be the Next Tony Stark. This panel will introduce the government researchers and creative industries that imagine the impossible and the govie program managers that make those ideas technological reality. Get an insight into each of their worlds and learn how to connect with project managers and national security advisors who are looking for YOUR ideas. Could you create the next GPS? Internet? And I mean really – who DOESN’T secretly want to be a superhero?

Finish off your SXSI session mastery at the JW Marriott at 5:00 p.m., where Behavioral Design: Hacking Human Behavior for Good will make you the most popular person at the evening’s meetups. Here, you’re going to get inside the mindset of insanely successful companies like Opower and Jawbone and understand just how they’re using the science of human behavior to solve real business and design problems.

These seven sessions will give you your start to a cool and amazingly productive SXSWI. You’re going to meet technology leaders and some really incredible ideas. And they’ll give you the insight you need for that great new company idea, how to take your business to the next level, or just be the really knowledgeable person at the bar that night.

Topic: BIG Update
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