Thank you Austin. While the circus was good and well worth attending, I’m still actually having difficulty disseminating the information I sponged while frantically running around from talk to talk while trying to occasionally avoid being hit on the head by a free rolled up T-Shirt. I do wonder if in fact our Toby got just as much from it sitting at home and following what happened on Twitter and Instagram, although I’m pretty sure he didn’t – a breakfast Taco is worth the flight alone. So there will be more blog posts to follow from me after I have made sense of my notes and wiped off all the melted cheese.
The unique thing about SXSW is that it seems to be a melting pot of influencers all looking to be influenced – it’s all discussion and opinion, so you make of it what you will. But every year amongst the tweet elite, there seems to be something that gets the mentions. Following on from the footsteps of Foursquare and Twitter, this year the highlight is an App, aptly named ‘Highlight’. Highlight is all about social discovery and ‘ambient reality’ or SoLoMo (social, local, mobile). Whatever you want to call it, once you sign in through Facebook it automatically notifies you when friends, or friends of friends, are close by. It tells you if you have any mutual interests (which as far as I can tell so far is what Facebook apps you have opened on your FB profile). The idea is to help you find people with similar interests or simply meet random strangers. Once Highlight notifies you that someone is nearby, you can then send that person a message.
What’s more interesting from a tech point of view, or perhaps more annoying from a consumer point of view, is that for it to be truly ambient Highlight always needs to be on in the background flagging your whereabouts. It murders your battery by keeping the Geo location running, in time though this is probably fixable and Highlight does have an option to ‘pause’ which helps. But you do get the impression it’s a rather large hurdle to get over if it’s going to get any nearer the current Instagram levels of take-up. Highlight is available to download now on the App store and I’ll leave you with an interview with the founder, Paul Davison, where he explains his vision to Forbes magazine.