At week five until SXSW 2014, we offered up tips on tech tools that come in handy during your SXSW experience. This week SXSW released its official schedule for interactive, film and music, which includes music showcases, film screenings, panel sessions for all three, plus keynotes, conversations and more. At four weeks out, this week’s Countdown to SXSW hits on the helpful apps and online resources that will provide you information on the go, making this wonderful but chaotic time a bit less hectic.
SXSW® GO app
The obvious go-to application for all-things-SXSW would be the actual SXSW GO app (Android, Apple), which has gone through a series of major improvements over the years. Films and many music profiles link directly to a YouTube video, enabling you to see and hear what interests you on the fly.
Along with the ability to synch between your online schedule picks and your phone app schedule, updates are automatically made each time you open the app so you have the latest information and news.
Another key benefit is the notifications you receive during SXSW. One example, one night about 11:30pm a notification popped up, warning of a major rainstorm that was coming through Austin. I immediately grabbed a cab back to where I was staying, avoiding getting caught in that rain (tip: always bring a mini umbrella; it will rain at least one of the days during your stay).
Not to get ahead of one’s self, but a wish list item for SXSW 2015 for this app would be to connect it to the user’s iTunes and/or Spotify so it will pre-populate your schedule, or at the least, let you know which of your favorite artists are also Showcasing Artists.
Old school tip: In the event your phone goes dead and you’re frantically trying to remember what session you were supposed to go to next, it’s great to have that printed schedule, maps included, as a backup. This goes for Interactive, Film and Music.
Before the SXSW app was around, there was Sched.org, which is free and and includes both official and unofficial SXSW parties and events. The unofficial part is key, considering how many music-related parties are planned each year. Searching for a band will serve up all the parties they’re playing, so if one conflicts with your schedule, you can schedule to see them at another one.
It also synchs between your online account (which uses social sign in with Facebook, enabling you to see your friend’s plans) and the web bookmark on your phone.
Making Connections Easier with Evernote
Apps to snapshot business cards have come and gone over the years, but the one expected most likely to succeed is Evernote’s business card scanning feature for Premium users. If you’re using the free version of Evernote, this feature alone is a good reason to upgrade (monthly subscription is $5, annual is $45).
Take the picture of the card, all the editable contact text is pulled into Evernote, and if you set up your own contact profile in settings, you can shoot them off a follow up email.
It’s easy. Check it out.
Most of us are on LinkedIn as well, and this feature takes the experience one step further. Connect LinkedIn to Evernote and enhanced contact information is available.
There are countless parties, both official and unofficial, during SXSW. Save your self hours and hours of time trying to find and RSVP for parties by just paying someone else to do it automatically. I used this service for the first time last year and didn’t regret it. There was no way I was able to make them all, but was able to check out the RSVPster site from my phone and the many RSVPs it had made, mostly on Eventbrite and Do512 (see below for information on both). Then I could decide what I wanted to go to ahead of time or on the fly while hanging out with new friends without worrying about being denied at the door by a woman with a clipboard.
It’s $30 for interactive, $30 for music, or $40 for both. You’re also able to synch to your iCal or Google Calendar. For me, it’s a no-brainer of a deal.
Speaking of Eventbrite, having this app on hand will enable you to pull up all your RSVPs, or “My Tickets,” if needed to get into the party. You can use Facebook for social signin and keep things going events-wise well after SXSW. It’s available for Apple and Android.
As with Eventbrite, RSVPster will also RSVP you to a number of parties listed on Austin’s do512.com. Having that on your phone will also enable you to scroll thought those party plans easily, which will include details, flyer artwork, other people who have also RVSP’d.
This is one of THE music parties during SXSW. The RSVP is manual, and as of today they hadn’t opened up registration yet, but when they do this app will enable you to listen to the acts that are performing and see the whole schedule. Very handy for Apple and Android users.
A ton of cabs will be driving around downtown Austin, most of them with passengers already in them, especially at night. Avoid calling and being put on hold with the Hailacab Austin app for Apple and Android, which enables you to book from your phone and get estimated wait time. Note: most cabs in Austin now take credit cards.
Last year Uber was just getting started in Austin and offered free rides via the app (Apple and Android), which was pretty rad. That freebie is gone, but no doubt Uber will be in full force picking up the overflow from the standard cabs. The app will provide you with a quote, which will most likely be 30%+ more than standard cab rates, before you book. It’s the convenience factor. If you use Uber in the middle of the day, the rates compare closer to standard cab rates versus using Uber right when the bars let out and everyone needs a cab. You’re also able to set up a credit card on the app ahead of time, so no cash is needed.
If you can’t catch a cab, the buses are still running and could save you both time and money if you’re staying close to downtown. During SXSW, some bus routes and times change, including those that go to the airport. In addition to Google Maps’ ability to provide bus routes and times, it’s a good idea to go to the CapMetro website on your phone just to make sure and get that key information straight from the source. Just bookmark it on your phone and you’re good to go…wherever it is you’re going.
Follow us @kaffeinebuzz to stay on top of our latest SXSW articles and listen to the weekly Kaffeine Buzz Show on HoxtonRadio.com each Thursday from 6pm to 7pm GMT (10am PST/1pm EST), which features SXSW 2014 Showcasing Artists, Film and Interactive news. Listen online via TuneIn on your computer or phone.