Watch Isis In Action at SXSW 2012

The Isis booth at SXSW included an NFC enabled vending machine which you can see in action in the video below.  Overall the Isis mobile payment platform is well conceived with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to find and sign up for loyalty and rewards programs from a variety of retailers.


“FutureShop” SXSW Panel Discusses QR Codes and NFC

Having spent ample time delving into NFC and QR codes at the Lab, I arrived at the “FutureShop: Virtual QR Stores, NFC Receipts & More” SXSW panel excited but wondering if we’d hear much new.  Although the technological side of the conversation covered familiar terrain, the panelists converged on an interesting theme—that while NFC technology is exciting in and of itself it needs to be tied to a real value proposition to entice consumers.

Manoj Lamba, the Global Digital Marketing Manager for Levi Strauss,  explained that mobile wallets have fallen flat largely because companies aren’t tying in the experience to social media, loyalty, and rewards.  On the whole the panel was optimistic that brick and mortar stores can use technology to create engaging experiences that combat the  threat of consumers stalking their aisles armed with price comparison apps.  The takeaway was simply that you can’t expect the technology to do all the work on its own— you need to use it to solve real consumer problems.

Kinect Boxing Bots

At the SXSW Interactive official opening party (for which there was an actual evite) Microsoft and Frog Design set up an interesting Kinect hack. They had a small boxing ring, and inside the ring were two robot boxers, about the size of human boxers. On opposite ends of the ring, they had hacked Xbox Kinects set up (not the new Windows versions) with screens set up below them.

For each bout, a human volunteer from the crowd would step up to each Kinect, and Kinect would translate their movements into robot punches. The installation was a big hit with partygoers.

Timehop Takes You Back To The Future at SXSW 2012

Any company that shows up to SXSW with a spot-on Delorean replica from Back To The Future to promote their product gets my full respect and attention.  Timehop’s Delorean had its Flux Capicitor pumping, a hoverboard in the passenger seat, and it’s modified blender ready for plutonium fueling.  The only thing they could have done to take the stunt further was to hire Christopher Lloyd or Michael J. Fox to show up in costume.

Timehop’s product allows you to go back in time and see what you did exactly one year ago across several social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram.  Users receive a daily email delivering “the ultimate personal history experience.” Based in New York City, Timehop was created by Jonathan Wegener & Benny Wong at Foursquare’s first ever Hackathon in February 2011.  Visit for more info.


Fulton Innovations Discusses Wireless Power at SXSW 2012

Remember how long you waited for your modem to connect to the internet in the dial-up days? We’ve come a long way since then with WiFi and according to Fulton Innovations the way we charge our devices is about to take a similar wireless leap. During the SXSW Interactive panel “Juice Without Wires: The Future of Wireless Power,” Fulton showed off it’s technology which includes tables and retail shelves that use electrical induction to charge devices that simply lay on top of them. Fulton takes the technology a step further by combining it with printed electronics to show that magazines and CPG packaging can actually pulsate with electricity when sitting on a wireless surface.

Some of the presentation was a recapitulation of Fulton’s display at CES in January but the hour-long format let the company to expound and a fuller vision for the future. Most notably, Fulton has its eye on electric vehicle charging, proposing a solution where cars can simply park on a wirelessly charged smart-space without the need for a plug. The parking spot would also be able to recognize individual cars, collect data, and send information to the owner via a mobile app.