Today my mission was to work the trade show booth for the College of Arts and Media. Since the music students can’t pick up their badges until Monday, this was the perfect day to hang out at the trade show. While we told over 100 people about CU Denver and CAM, over half of those people spent time talking to us, swapping business cards, and asking about our future careers. This opportunity was a great two-way street, and the trade show itself housed many opportunities for us to meet various companies, as well as gather intel for the University.
The overall trade show was fantastic, incredibly informative, and innovative–not to mention fun! One of the main themes of the trade show was new technology and use of that technology through different mediums to create advancements in various industries. The only limit is imagination, as proved by the “Silicon Valley” broadening its horizons to virtually anywhere or completely virtual! I am constantly amazed by the imagination of creatives, and that imagination, paired with a little coding, can create an entirely new model of how a creative business is run. I think keeping up with, and changing our law and business models to reflect the ever growing technology is necessary for the survival the music industry. Without the symbiotic relationship between music and technology, the technology industry will leave music in the dust, but will also lack the genius of music. Therefore, I’m very excited about the upcoming music panels on how technology and music can integrate, and the legislative changes that might occur in the next few years to grow with the technology. The trade show, and SXSW in general is amazing, because everyone around me is an innovator. They understand the importance of music and technology, and are bringing a plethora of new innovations to the trade show to show these relationships at work.
One of the innovations I saw–not completely related to music, but an example of the possibilities of technology–was a 3D food printer. The printer housed various food components, dough, marinara sauce, and cheese. The program was then coded like a normal 3D printer to print out a picture of the United States, but in dough. Once the basic outline was finished, the printer switched to sauce and piped out sauce and cheese. Eventually the United States pizza got cooked, though I wasn’t sure if the oven was the bottom of the 3D printer, or whether the placed it in a toaster over. Nonetheless, this incredibly possibility for the food industry showed how taking one cutting edge technology in 3D printing, and applying to various industries, can truly change the way our world works. I believe the possibilities of 3D printing are huge, and will not only permeate in the food industry, but will somehow be used in the music industry as well. I hope to attend an upcoming panel on 3D printing in the music industry, to see how creatives are planning to implement this technology into the music scene.
Many of the booths at the trade show combined both technology and music to create brand new types and platforms of synthesizers. Some of the synths corresponded to a white steering wheel looking object, which have several touch points of sensitivity so the person could play different parts of the wheel for various synth noises. The Japanese booths even had thick hair ties that had LEDs embedded and worked as hair tie synthesizers. While we currently have an InWorks class taught by Jeff Merkel, I think we could go even further. We could have the InWorks students create final projects for the Mobile Device ensemble, that would show a performance representation of the works they created, and additionally, we could integrate more with the mechanical engineering and computer science majors to combine coding with the creative. It would be amazing to see all student made synthesizers at the Mobile Devices ensemble, and would further allow for inter-campus connections so CAM students could provide a creative vision, while the coders could create that new technology.
The other great use of technology at the Trade Show was a robot that educated people on the importance of patents. Though this robot attracted a huge crowd because of its size and movement, the organization used this technology to educate. The robot was made out of all patented materials and the idea of the piece was to show the importance of patents in the creatives industries. By artful integrating technology to make a business point, people really understood and took the time to learn about patent importance. I thought this was incredibly important because while our general public often doesn’t understand the industry or its issues, this piece of technology can intrigue anyone to stop for a moment and listen. If we were able to create a piece similar to this to fight the pirate bay through advanced technology, I think more people would listen. In a technological era, it doesn’t make much sense to take technology away from people as a solution, but rather if we could integrate that same technology into education about piracy, the public may actually listen, and most importantly care about these industry issues.
I think one of the most important things about this Trade Show was how willing and eager people were to collaborate. A lot of the new technology requires several different parts, the coders need a creative idea, the creatives need coders, and idea needs marketing, etc. For almost all the booths I talked to there was a desire to connect and collaborate. I spoke to a coding company who creates apps for other users and we talked at length about the possibility of having a CU Denver app. I know The Office of Student Life has played around with the idea, but has never had the coders to back the project. This technology is coded to be completely user friendly, but also matches the needs of the University, and is totally customizable. The app could be used for New Student Orientation by creating a scavenger hunt, in which students had to find specific buildings, through the use of geo-perimeters and maps, once the student found the location, that information would be saved to the app. Therefore, once they had visited all locations, read about them through the app, and anything else, the app would display a message that the student won a piece of CU gear for completing the scavenger hunt. This would be huge for recruitment because prospective students could take a tour of the campus without the need to even book an appointment. As the student found various building, automated messages can be generated to share vital information about that building, or even pull up samples of textbooks for that area of study. The prospective students or freshmen would be guided to the Office of Student Life at the end of their tour to pick up some CU gear and have a real person answer any other questions. The app could also be used for current students to show them upcoming CU Events on campus. For instance, if a student entered a geo-perimeter such as the Tivoli, they would get a notification that stated there was an event in the Tivoli Turnhalle with free food. Event preferences could even be customized by the user, such as “music,” “arts,” “housing” so students would get notifications more targeted towards their interests. The app would work on both Apple and Android and is constantly customizable by the user, meaning the coder doesn’t need to do the update every time. The purchase of this is fairly expensive, but based on a yearly subscription, so, if purchased for the entire University could be a really useful tool for aiding prospective students, freshman, and students who have been on campus for years but might not know about events.