Stimulant's Nathan Moody Talks Space, Place & UX at This Year's SXSW
I was pleasantly surprised to see that, about once a day, this year's SXSW Interactive had sessions on site-specific digital experiences. This covered a range of topics from in-store retail to how food is marketed and made, to new technologies that can reach consumers in physical space. While certainly not a tidal wave, this proto-theme meandered through the show like Shoal Creek cuts through the western edge of downtown Austin.
I think that means that the Internet of Things zeitgeist is finally remembering, "Oh yeah, buildings and rooms are ‘things,' aren't they?" Perhaps, like SXSW's own sessions, mobile apps and services are reaching a saturation point: The battleground for consumer mind/market share is dense, and it's increasingly hard to achieve real differentiation. But exposing people to unusual digital experiences in fresh venues can playfully confound expectations and set the groundwork for radically differentiated activations, experiences, and brand impressions.
It's an exciting indication of how a unification of art, design, and increasingly affordable and compatible hardware may be leading to a shift in focus to digital installations, richer and more sophisticated DOOH marketing, and more meaningful experiences in physical space...without a phone or tablet hovering in front of one's face, mediating an experience best had first-hand.
Nathan Moody is Design Director of smart space design firm Stimulant