The Best of SXSW 2014

March 28, 2014
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Written by Jason Francis

Making your way around SXSW you’ll learn quickly that there is no shortage of apps, programs and devices being introduced into the digital marketplace. The SXSW trade show featured tons of items ranging from music and entertainment to media and communications. Even now I’m still trying out and working through the various apps and software I was introduced to. I would like to share a few that thus far have received my own stamp of approval.

ridescout

My first day in Austin a fellow SXSW blogger told me of a recently released navigation app called Ride Scout. It’s essentially a more detailed and centralized version of Google Maps which delivers transportation options that include bus, rail, train, bike, walking and various local car service. It offers selection in a comparative display and you can book rides direct from the app. This was ideal for my late nights out.  As a company on the raise they are presently only functional in their base city of operations Washington, DC and now in Austin. I’m keeping them on my radar for future expansion into more cities and hopefully national cover.

PPL Connect

In terms of communication PPLConnect is a highly convenient app that essentially directs calls and texts sent to your phone to other devices. If you’re traveling it’s a great way to avoid roaming charges overseas  and it’s very handy when you’re not in a position to answer your phone. It’s presently in beta status and is only available for Android via Google Play Store.

Omlet 

On the social side of apps I highly recommend Omlet. I’d best describe Omlet as a Mashup  of Snapchat, Instagram and GroupMe. You can chat with friends individually or in a group set up. Attachments to your text messages range from images,  including GIFS, voice notes, check-ins and inks. The messaging is very smooth and links are received in a preview manner and pictures are automatically placed to collages. It’s a very clean app. In addition you can share location to create events among friends. One of the extra bonuses to Omlet is that they very actively boast the fact that no info shared via this app will be saved or shared without context.

faceshift Finally I want to share one more thing I discovered in Austin. You can consider this a bonus because it’s not an app but an actual program. As our digital communication expands and many interactions continue to take place via platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts and more, it becomes apparent that with the convenience of being able to connect everywhere, not everyone is as comfortable in front of the camera as others are. Faceshift is a program that fully and rather simply renders your facial features and movements to create a 3d Avatar that you can then customize. After about 15 mins of set up time you get to work with a consumer grade camera to take the required images that form the Avatar frame. The program is available in 2 types. A studio version for $1,500 and a Freelance edition for $800 annually which links the software to the main support center. If your online business image can use a technology upgrade this might be worth looking into depending on your brand.

New technology is coming at us fast and steady. New and improved means of connecting across social networks and around the standard channels is the direct of this progression. I hope you all get quality usage from these apps and programs. Feel free to follow me via Twitter & Facebook and my site www.thesocialmediasamurai.com  as I continue to share new material I come across.

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