SXSW 2017: Inside the IBM Experience

By Amber Forrest

From healthcare to education — and everything in between — IBM is working to make essential aspects of your life better. This was made clear with real-world applications, products and services featured in the IBM Experience at SXSW.

Couldn’t make it to the IBM Experience in Austin? Read on to see some of our biggest highlights from the showcase.

Our world healthier

The Internet of Caring Things is bringing healthcare and cognitive together to improve the quality of life for the world’s aging population. Pew Research Center has estimated that by 2050, the number of people aged over 100 will jump from half a million to 3.7 million. With such a demand for safe, healthy and personal elder care on the rise, disruptive technology is needed now more than ever. Inside the IBM Experience, visitors could see just how IBM’s disruptive technology is making tangible strides in improving the quality of life for seniors. Using a series of connected mobile devices, sensors and cognitive systems, friends, families and providers are better able to stay connected to parents and grandparents. Ultimately, this helps manage life’s vital decisions, prolong independence and reduce loneliness in seniors.

Our world more creative

You don’t have to be a virtuoso to create beautiful art. In fact, all it takes is 10 seconds of tickling the ivories for Watson Beat to interpret musical theory, structure and emotional intent. With this, Watson can produce an entire original song personalized to your style and mood. As with all cognitive technology, collaboration is key for Watson. You, the aspiring Mozart, provide a bit of guidance and input, and Watson Beat will act as your musical muse, helping to overcome writer’s block or expose you to sounds you wouldn’t have thought to string together. Feeling amped? Let Watson Beat help you create the next big hit.

IBM Watson Beat

Our world more engaging

If one thing was clear at SXSW this year, it’s that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have taken the tech world by storm. Though the IBM Experience featured a VR demo that allowed people to create cats and destroy dragons, its applications are much more far-reaching than video games alone.

Use cases for AR and VR span across virtually every industry (no pun intended). VR can immerse users within a completely different world, allowing brands to deliver highly customized experiences to potential customers — an effective “try-before-you-buy” strategy. AR has also proven itself to be a driver for both social and business impact. Visualizing and manipulating data is now made easy, not to mention more engaging, with just a few head tilts and hand motions mobilized by AR.

Our world more personal

Technology is only as good as its value to the end user. As innovative, unique and flashy as a new product may be, if its target user doesn’t adopt it, the product has essentially failed. Further, living the life of the user — in other words, demonstrating empathy — is critical. As technologists, we think we understand users, but until we live their life, we simply don’t.

This is where IBM Design Thinking comes in. IBM Design Thinking is founded on the idea that systems of the world should work in service of people. Observation, reflection and creation are the driving forces behind this, yielding truly human-centered solutions. This was the approach taken to support teachers looking for a digital solution to more effectively work with their students. In the end, IBM was able to observe teachers, work with them to figure out what they needed in a student records system and iterate to continually improve the teachers’ experiences and, ultimately, the students’ experiences. That’s an A+ in our books.

Empathy Map

Whether it’s improving elder care or finding new ways for brands to engage their audiences, IBM solutions will have applications to every aspect of everyday life.

Written By

Amber Forrest

Social Business Manager, IBM Mobile

Amber is a Social Business Manager for IBM Mobile, running analytics and insights for IBM Mobile's social and digital platforms. She supports content creation and strategy to engage core tech and business audiences alike. When she's not developing digital strategy, running a paid…