Was Quantified Self a Breakout Hit at SXSW?

Going into day one of SXSW Interactive, a tech conference in Austin Texas, the New York Times published a story on how the spotlight this year would be on hardware. The story went on to discuss several devices to make this point which included 3D printers, smartwatches, and environment sensors like Nest.  They also mentioned wearable fitness devices as well as lifelogging, pointing specifically to the Memoto camera. This article from the Time website covering the five themes at this year’s conference list both the Quantified Self as well as wearable tech. Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst posted his take on the technologies shown at SXSW citing quantified self as a sector to watch. Google is also showing a talking shoe as a prototype just to continue exploring the possibilities of attaching sensors to objects to determine the benefits of tracking the data. Over the last few days I’ve been monitoring social activity from the conference and have also come across several other stories that confirm these observations.


It would appear that another ho hum mobile app wasn’t going to gain traction and buzz. I believe people have relegated those as utilities and aren’t willing to give them buzzworthy recognition. It’s become clear that QS has become one of the breakout hits of this year’s conference. Well to be fair, nothing could actually trump Grumpy Cat but I digress. In doing a quick search I also found 10 panels specifically targeted at QS and I’m sure many others touched on the subject as well. The signals I got after reviewing device announcements at CES as well as what’s coming out of Austin are clearly in line with QS continuing its push into the mainstream. The other great thing is that these devices and sensors aren’t just being focused on workout activity tracking. We’re starting to see a big push in the diagnosis and improvement of healthcare as well as new devices that will begin to also monitor our environment in addition to the hugely popular Nest.

It’s unfortunate that after going to SXSW for the last few years I had to miss it this year when lifelogging, wearable devices, and other quantified self areas are having a break out year. Well at least that’s afforded me the ability to monitor quite a bit from afar. Actually that’s just the silver lining I’m mumbling to myself in spite of being there. This is truly becoming an amazing year for the movement in devices and software to make our lives better.

Enjoy Google’s video of their talking shoe.