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Opinion and Insight

SXSW Day 2: China's Cashless Vision, Trauma Training in VR and The Digital Afterlife

Clemenger Group Australia and New Zealand's crack-team with another daily update from SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas

SXSW Day 2: China's Cashless Vision, Trauma Training in VR and The Digital Afterlife

The reinvention of stores: Innovate to survive
Physical retail is not dying. Boring retail is. So says Emily Wengert, Group VP User Experience at Huge.
Simply doing what's expected isn't enough anymore. In her talk, Wengert argues that in-store tech has the power to enhance the retail experience by addressing retail's worst traits - long queues, poorly trained staff, challenges of finding things. All the while,supporting the best ones - the community, discovery and tactility.

With the world of tech at our fingertips, to reinvent the store environment, brands need to be a part of the experience economy. Providing a memorable, unexpected and "just for me" experience for loyal and new customers alike.
Whether it's a boutiques or adepartment store, brick and mortar isn't going anywhere. But in order to survive, it's going to have to transform. A lot.
Designing cashless cities
"Chinese design and tech principles and practices are leading the world, but are often overlooked."
Opening with this quote from John Maeda's 2018 Design in Technology Report, Shanying Leung used his session to showcase how payments in China have rapidly evolved - even beyond phones.
Thanks to his work on AliPay-- China's main mobile payments platform of >500 million users--you can navigate the public transport system without a wallet, using biometric voice security and facial recognition for purchase.
He also scoffed at the western view that the QR code is dead when AliPay is enabling peer-to-peer payments via personal QR codes.
Australia and New Zealand has high rates of contactless payments, sure. But it seems like, if you really want to see what the future has in store, look to China.
VR for empathy training in trauma
"See one, do one, teach one." That's the current approach to learning emergency trauma surgery; diving into the deep end. But when that deep end is life and death, it's no wonder  40% of trauma surgeons have PTSD.
In Amanda Sammann's undeniably passionate presentation, she argues that "pre-exposure" through VR is our best weapon against burnouts, mental breakdowns and panicked decision making in trauma wards.
By quite literally putting you in someone else's shoes, VR could help surgeons be more empathetic toward their patients, coworkers and even themselves - from first response all the way through to rehab.
Sammanns states "this isn't just cool tech, it's human lives". As advertisers, we often flippantly mention that we're, in fact, not saving lives. But what if we could help?

Death and legacy in the digital age
The digital afterlife is not talked about a lot. But Rebecca Blum, Senior Strategist at frogSF, certainly got us thinking.
Maybe it's slightly morbid, or maybe tech has advanced so quickly we haven't had the chance to think about it, but we've had a glimpse in to the future through the likes ofBlack Mirror, Minority Report, Westworld etc., and we know that the tech is catching up to those views of the future. But how much of it is already here?
Well, we're creepily close.
In early 2016, Eugenia Kuyda created "Roman Bot" out of texts from her best friend so they could keep talking after her passing. And last year the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Centre revealed the interactive 3D hologram of survivor Adina Sella. That's only two examples.
With 428 Facebook users dying every hour, what should be the fate of our social accounts? Our emails, texts and voicemails? Should we give someone our password? Cancel the accounts? Curate them? Or immortalise our digital selves?
There's a lot of questions that need to be answered.
A conversational future: Making technology adapt to us

We're (obviously) at an exciting point in the UX field. With a shift from flat interfaces to gestures and voice, the way we interact with tech is changing.
Both Laura Granka (Experience Research) and Hector Ouilhet (Design) have been at Google for over 10 years, and are currently leading their respective disciplines for Google Search. They presented on the relationship between people and technology and how it evolves and expands--or disappears--over time.
For Google, this new era of UX begins with a shift in focus from promoting "features" (i.e. maps) to journeys. Journey-based UX means that predictive technology will be able to pre-empt customers' questions and deliver real-world solutions - all in real-time.
This shift for Google, and the UX discipline, elevates products, services and utilities to a higher order - helping people solve problems before they even pop up.
As marketers it means a whole new world of adaptable messaging for the individual. One where we may even be able to predict their next interaction. Kinda cool and an opportunity for us to be highly contextual and highly creative.

Daily SXSW 2018 highlights are brought to you by, Sabrina Riedel, Emma Tait, Brendan (Bob) Forster, Fraser (Franklin) Nelson, and Ben Kidney.