Written by IEEE | March 11, 2016

South by Southwest (SXSW) has catapulted into a mega conference over the years, as tech enthusiasts take over Austin, Texas and its surrounding areas to network, innovate and exhibit the latest trends in technology. We’re making the trek to Austin for SXSW Interactive (March 11-15), and whether you’re there, too, or following from afar, here are some trends to keep an eye out for:

Transportation: Intelligent transportation is always a hot topic – and at SXSW, innovators in the changing transportation landscape — from autonomous cars and electric cars to ridesharing —  will all be on display. If autonomy is on your mind, don’t miss US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, who is speaking on a panel called “Beyond Traffic: The Emergence of a Connected City” on Sunday.

Wearables: Wearables continue to flood the market, and they’re becoming more technical, and more fashionable. Alongside balancing form, function and fashion, we anticipate a lot of the SXSW wearable chatter to delve into the world of medical technology and innovations that can help both doctors and patients manage their daily health.

Diversity: Lack of diversity in engineering is not a new issue, but it’s one that is getting more attention as the tech industry grows and evolves. SXSW is addressing the topic head-on with a series of panels exploring ways to address the situation on a global scale.

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence: AI solutions are making their mark across industries like healthcare and education, but with that growth comes the need for stronger management of these advancements. The AI-focused panels and sessions this year range from AI and inequality to AI and its quest to function like the human brain. The breadth of these sessions is testament to the growing application of AI technology.

VR/AR: VR and AR dominated the headlines of CES and MWC, and we expect the same energy at SXSW this year. In addition to panels exploring the technical aspects of VR/AR, we’ll also be monitoring the news for advancements in AR/VR accessories and applications.

Connected Cities: The concept of connected cities extends far beyond autonomous cars. Much like sensors found in driverless cars, we anticipate the connected city chatter at SXSW to explore new methods for implementing sensor technology to help reduce waste and strengthen sustainability in cities around the world.



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