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SXSW 2017: What Investors Need to Know

By Simon Erickson - Mar 22, 2017 at 7:48AM

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Each year, Austin's South-by-Southwest conference showcases the world's most innovative new ideas. See our key investing takeaways, as well as our top three predictions for the next five years!

Each year, the world's most innovative companies descend on Austin, Texas for the South-by-Southwest conference, where they lay out their view of the future. It's an incredible weeklong showcase of new tech gadgets, creativity, and entrepreneurial thinking.

While we have a lot of fun at SXSW, we also take it very seriously. The Motley Fool encourages investing for the long-term, which requires staying up to date on new technologies and the emergence of disruptive trends. These could significantly change the multi-billion dollar industries that we recognize today, and give rise to a new wave of successful companies and business models.

During the past week, we've taken detailed notes about the ambitions of forward-thinking leaders and have analyzed their potential impacts. In the years we've gone to SXSW, we have found "the future" is never quite as far away as it seems at the time.

In the attached report, I've recapped what I consider to be SXSW's five most interesting sessions, which are especially relevant for forward-thinking investors:

  • Collaborative Innovation in the Digital Health Age discusses how and why collaboration is becoming so necessary between technology and healthcare companies.
  • Sequence Me: Genomics Going Mainstream explains the profound impact that DNA sequencing will soon have on healthcare.
  • AI: How Tech's Next Revolution Will Change Lives demonstrates how artificial intelligence is already gaining adoption and being used in the business world.
  • Hollywood Goes VR details how studios view virtual reality as a new entertainment platform.
  • Blockchain Opportunities Abound describes how blockchain could have a huge impact on our global financial system.

To read in-depth takes on all these sessions, click here for the full report. 

Man wearing VR goggles

On the trade show floor at SXSW

As an added bonus, I've included my top three predictions of the greatest changes I foresee the technology industry undergoing during the next five years.

I hope you enjoy the report and the material! If you have any thoughts, questions, or comments, please send them to

Tech's Top Three Changes in the Next Five Years

While the future is never certain, SXSW has offered us several clues about the direction it may be heading. Here are my top three predictions of the largest changes we'll see in the technology world during the next five years.

1) Consumers will take charge of their health. Genomic sequencing goes mainstream, and anyone interested can get their full genome sequenced for less than $100 -- which will be fully reimbursed by insurance. This will provide the information for a healthy conversation with your doctor, which will prevent many serious diseases or cancers from developing far in advance.

2) AI becomes the foundation of enterprise relationships. Giant artificial intelligence platforms offered by Intel (INTC -2.86%), NVIDIA (NVDA -4.20%), and IBM (IBM -0.05%) offer significantly greater business value than competitors. They will replace on-premise software vendors such as Oracle (ORCL 1.43%), but also cloud-based software vendors such as Salesforce (CRM 1.92%). Collaborative partnerships will rise -- where smaller, specialized companies provide the data that feeds the huge AI platforms.

3) Entertainment goes mobile. Movie theaters will become a nostalgic pastime, and television sales will fall considerably. People will download virtual reality photos, movies, and games directly to consumer headsets like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. Content will be available anywhere that has access to Wi-Fi internet – like on the train or in your local coffee shop. Distribution will shift from selling a-la-carte (such as buying a DVD or renting a movie) to all-you-can consume, on-demand subscriptions. Since information is transferred in real-time, advertising will be based largely on your current location.

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Stocks Mentioned

NVIDIA Corporation Stock Quote
NVIDIA Corporation
$145.23 (-4.20%) $-6.36
International Business Machines Corporation Stock Quote
International Business Machines Corporation
$141.12 (-0.05%) $0.07
Oracle Corporation Stock Quote
Oracle Corporation
$70.87 (1.43%) $1.00
Intel Corporation Stock Quote
Intel Corporation
$36.34 (-2.86%) $-1.07
Salesforce, Inc. Stock Quote
Salesforce, Inc.
$168.20 (1.92%) $3.16

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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