Every year the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) takes over Austin with its many festivals and presentations. It connects some of the greatest thinkers from music, movies, and new media. Creativity and innovation are the themes of the conference, and their presence this year has been apparent.
SXSW Interactive is a popular event for web creators and entrepreneurs. The event is five days long and focuses on the future of innovative technology. And, although the two-day SXSW Technology Summit, which includes presentations on technology and business, is still going on, a number of terrific ideas have already emerged from the conference.
Every year, in addition to all of the conferences, there is a “Startup Bus” competition. The Startup Bus departs from Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New York and San Francisco, and drives to Austin in two days. In those 48 hours, teams are assembled and they are given the task of coming up with an original idea, creating a demo and website, and then presenting their idea to a panel of judges once they arrive in Austin.
48 hours hardly seems long enough to come up with a business idea and actually create a demo for it but, for these people, it’s plenty of time. Great ideas are virtually always born on the buses, and this year was no different. These are the two winners of this year’s competition.
TripMedi is based around the rapidly growing medical tourism industry. Medical tourism is basically when a person needs to have a medical procedure performed on them and travels to a developing country in order to save money.
The industry is growing by 15% yearly, so a comprehensive system for finding services is essential. Calling itself the “Yelp for medical tourism,” TripMedi hopes to become a one-stop-shop for the industry.
Now, people interested in medical tourism can find a comprehensive list of services, prices and physicians all in one place. The site has already seen 1,300 unique visitors and 44 sign-ups, and it’s only been live for four days.
WalkIN deals with the all-too-common problem of cramming into a restaurant lobby while waiting for a table. Dozens of hungry, grumpy people are stepping on each others toes, hoping that their name will be called next.
WalkIN gets rid of one of the biggest pains of waiting for a table by allowing you to roam while you wait. You can simply go into the restaurant, check in using a QR code, and then wander around until you are alerted via phone that your table is ready.
People no longer have to carry around big, clunky restaurant pagers that vibrate incessantly until you make it back to the host stand.
This year’s SXSW conferences, like all other years’, has already brought us some truly innovative ideas, and is sure to bring us even more.
If you’d like to learn more about SXSW, check out their website.