Kinect was fun for gamers, and enticing to marketers for out of home installations. Now it’s time for “the Kinect on steroids,” known as the Leap Motion Controller. The controller is set to launch at retail on May 13th, but lucky individuals are getting to see it in action at SXSW this week with a host of compatible software by a range of developers. The early enthusiasm over the device is, at least partially, owed to its ability to detect changes in motion as small as 1mm, but this sharp precision is of concern as it can cause readings to be less smooth than desired. The technology is still in its infancy, and improvements are on the way via software developers, but as it stands, the Leap Motion Controller certainly offers something to look forward to as an out-of-home marketing must-have waiting to happen.
As if it wasn’t easy enough to find tech savvy people in public by following their trails of tweets and cast-aside year-old Apply products, Swarmly now geolocates packs of them and delivers the information directly to iOS and Android phones. After a quiet iOS launch last September, the Android version launched today on Android to increase its effectiveness and potential user base. Swarmly doesn’t require check-ins. Instead, users enable the app to use their location data to contribute to “swarms” of people nearby, linked to specific locations where groups are likely to congregate. The app is designed to work instantly, instead of relying on historical data patterns like many check-in based applications. Swarmly could be a darling of SXSW 2013, and it will be interesting to see its guerrilla marketing implications.
The rapid growth of South by Southwest’s Interactive portion is raising concerns over the event’s ability to effectively launch new tech startups. 28,000 attendees are expected at this year’s portion, a jump of 9,000 people from just two years ago. The festival has formed a tradition over the last five years of providing promising startups with a large-scale launch platform, and the model worked for current mainstream hits Twitter and Foursquare. With no early favorite emerging before the festival, concerns have been raised that the sheer scale of the festival may prevent any single entity from emerging as a fast favorite, taking away much of the saturation effect that launched favorites in previous years. Of course, we’ll only know what emerges next week as SXSW runs its course for 2013.