Blog skyhook logo This Week In Context: Skyhook Speaks At Wearable Tech Show And SXSW

Mar 20, 2015 10:23:23 AM

This Week In Context: Skyhook Speaks At Wearable Tech Show And SXSW

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The Wearable Tech Show and SXSW Conference debut groundbreaking innovation every year, and 2015 was no exception. These two conferences bring together bright minds in the tech industry to examine the forward-looking technology trends that are influencing outstanding changes in the way we live our lives.

The overwhelming sentiment is that we are ready for context. The firehose of mobile, social, commerce, location, sensor, 3rd party and 2nd party data and making sense of it all was a central conversation at both conferences.  

Deeper understanding of users based on a cocktail of data allows apps, wearables and advertisers to deliver personalized, relevant content and dynamic experiences to mobile users. Anticipating what users are looking for and the functions they will need is a key component of making apps and wearables vital and delivering personalized content. Skyhook transforms location from a simple latitude and longitude to an essential, actionable data layer of context that helps our customers understand users while respecting their privacy.

Skyhook spoke at both events, joining in on the growing discussion around building precision and context with location -  here's a brief recap of the shows:

The Wearable Technology Show In London

Last week Skyhook’s VP of Marketing, Mike Schneider, spoke about how contextual technology will improve wearables. Wearable technology offers the user a more personalised and localized service, and allows businesses the opportunity to serve up more accurate and appropriate services. The panel took a look at what’s working. Mike spoke about how using location-based context helps increase revenue and engagement opportunities for wearables.


The Wearable Technology Show sparked conversations centered on the most current issues facing the wearables industry: integrating app’s into the wearable experience in a seamless offering that caters to the customer on their digital journey; meeting user expectations for design, comfort, function and battery life; building personalized experiences for wearable technology. And how all this builds competitive advantage.

Top Trends At The Wearable Tech Show

Wearables and Wellness

Many new wearables made their debut at The Wearable Tech Show, including a company called Activinsights. This anonymous-looking hardware is handed straight to medical professionals. The hardware is then passed out to sick people for a week at a time, enabling doctors to get an accurate portrait of their lifestyle. The company's Stephanie Sargeant believes that it may not be necessary for users to always have a device strapped around their wrist to improve lives. Just a week of activity data offers "a lot of detail," enabling doctors to make a "low-risk intervention" to combat conditions like sleep disorders and obesity.

Big Wearables Like Bionics and Prosthetics

3D printed prosthetic arms were a big topic of conversation at the Wearable Tech Show with actress and Youtube star, Grace Mandeville, debuting Open Bionics' latest model. 
“We printed Grace a socket and robotic hand in three days and because 3D printing is so affordable we can add Swarovski crystals and create something really eye-catching that will not break the bank,” Open Bionics COO Samantha Payne tells “We also added four fibre optic wires to the socket so that whenever Grace closes her hand, a blue light would shoot up her 3D printed arm.”
The idea behind Graces’s arm was to show off the possibilities for prostheses within the 3D printing space. Open Bionics wanted to show that prostheses can be functional and fun at the same time. In creating this new arm, the company used a completely new socket design, and placed EMG sensors above the elbow. This allows Grace to control her hand by using the muscle signals from her back.

Chips That Provide Value

A number of chip, circuit board and connectivity technology, and sensor vendors were present at the show. Companies like Samsung, Intel, Silicon Labs, Freescale, Texas Instruments and LM Technologies focused on combining multiple functions on to single chips.


Skyhook’s VP of Marketing, Mike Schneider, spoke on a panel at LBMA’s RetailLoco event at SXSW. Mike, along with fellow panel members from Urban Airship, Adtile Technologies, Unacast and xAd, spoke about the future of local. 

Top Trends At SXSW

Video Streaming Apps

The app that made the biggest splash at the SXSW conference is Meerkat, a live-streaming platform launched about two weeks ago. The social video app made some noise before the conference as a way to host video sessions through Twitter. At SXSW it made the biggest debut since Foursquare’s launch at SXSW in 2009.

Attendees of the conference used Meerkat to broadcast their experience. People not attending the event were able to experience events via the app. The app surpassed 100,000 users over the weekend. 

Wearables and Wellness

This years wearables went beyond fitness trackers to focus on health, the quantified self, and fashion. Many discussions examined technology in the fashion industry. Big wearables related to health and technology were discussed on the "extreme bionics" panel, explaining the future of prosthetics and human augmentation.

The world's first "smart band-aid," was another wearable that was unveiled with the goal to help in the fight against Ebola. This technology moves wearables to a new level of innovation to tackle larger global and social issues.

iBeacons and Internet of Things

The Internet of Things continues to be a prevalent topic. Many connected and "smart" technologies were presented at the conference this year and continue to spark conversation and interest as they are infiltrating virtually every industry.

The SXSW mobile app took beacon technology to a new level by leveraging more than 1,000 beacons to deliver hyperlocal networking. The network of beacons at the conference allowed attendees to locate one another based on interest, find relevant people/speakers attending various events and network in a 21st century fashion. 

"SXSW is using beacons to propel smart networking by using proximity in a way that was not previously possible," said Scott Wilcox, SXSW director of technology. "Since SXSW takes place throughout the city, beacons are allowing us to use micro-locations and context in conjunction with attendee profiles to help people sync up in real-time." variety_shot-5