SXSWi Smart Wall
The Project: For the second year in a row, Samsung approached JESS3 with an interactive challenge for SXSWi 2012: create an intricate data visualization installation comprised of 23 Samsung displays. The result came to be known as the #smartwall.
JESS3’s goal was to make this year’s installation the live premier source of valuable real-time interactive social data for conference goers. We designed eleven different views across five screens, and were able to implement eight views to capture breaking social activity around conference panels, industry trendsetters, trending locations, popular topics, hot parties, and buzz captured at the infamous SXSW parties.
In addition the complex design, the JESS3 team came to SXSW with a team of 8 curators (including a few veterans of the Vancouver Olympics NBC Curation Team) prepared to unearth the most compelling data for the #smartwall using our custom-built curation admin tool called the Samsung Controlinator. Armed with essential keywords, killwords and trendspotting tools, the curation team worked on the ground for 12 hours per day to ensure the best social data was highlighted on the installation.
Our Methodology: Physical installations present unique challenges. Complications can arise with fabrication of the structure the digital installation sits in, hardware malfunctions, software bugs, and of course — making sure that what you’ve designed actually looks good in real life and not just in the office where you’ve been staring at it for months. But at the core, it’s always about finding a way to make something that fits in the space and conveys interesting and value-driven information in a beautiful relevant way.
The evolution from last year’s social visualizations to what we created this year is based on the concept of sharing what’s interesting at SXSW back to the people in attendance. It’s easy to get distracted by data and content that can be included instead of concentrating on what should be included. For 2012, we are looking at the most interesting content across categories of people, parties, locations, tweets, the day in review and overnight happenings. We’re paying attention to all of these areas across a set of curated “Subjects” curated by the JESS3 team.
The flow of conversation is just that – a flow. It changes over time in terms of what is important and what is interesting. Breakout news needs to be seen and included quickly, and marquis stories from yesterday need to be cleared out to make room for more relevant topics if interest in them has waned. The JESS3 curation team spec’d the Samsung Controlinator to help in this task and give them ways to filter and direct the flow of conversation for each of the categories on the screen.
In an environment characterized by chaos, dynamism and fluidity, the key is to build a platform that organizes at a stable level and provides maximum flexibility to react and adapt at more detailed levels. This ensures a curation of top quality content at a fast pace within beautiful design.
Results: According to NetBase, Samsung received the most social media buzz among non-media/tech brands, with about 165,000 mentions – even more than heavy-weight brands American Express, Pepsi and Chevy. Samsung was the most tweeted sponsor at SXSWi with 2,401 tweets overall and received coverage from a number of top media outlets including Fast Company, Mediabistro and AdWeek.