My Favourite App of SXSW 2013

sxsw 2013 Backdrop

I’m lucky enough to be in Austin, Texas, for the South by South West Interactive (SXSWi) 2013 conference. For those of you that don’t know it, SXSW is a 20 year old festival that now incorporates Interactive, Film and Music.

SXSWi has been responsible for the launch of several huge social media start ups. The two biggest breakthrough apps that went on to become household names were Twitter in 2007 and Foursquare in 2009.

The recent crop of apps tapping into the SoLoMo trend have been less successful. Gowalla, Foursquare’s once bitter rival sold to Facebook in late 2011 for an undisclosed sum and has been subsequently closed down and Highlight last years breakthrough app has gained very little traction in the year since.

So, this brings us to the winner for 2013.

…and the winner is… Well there wasn’t one. There were no new standout apps for 2013. This has several of the digerati claiming that SXSW has jumped the shark (although they’ve been saying that since 2010, more on that in my next post).

Whilst there were no new standout apps, my personal standout app for SXSW 2013 was Card Munch. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock not to know about it until now but Card Munch is a free app that digitises business cards.

Card Munch was bought by LinkedIn in 2011 and gives your contacts linked to the appropriate LinkedIn profile. After a week long frenzy of meeting tonnes of like-minded people, it was a painless way to stay on top of new connections.

How it works? Photograph a business card with your iPhone and if it’s readable, you can upload it to the helpful folks at LinkedIn. There, it is manually transcribed and apparently every card goes through at least three human transcriptions, to ensure accuracy. In the many cards I had transcribed from this years South-by I’ve not seen a mistake yet and they’ve come through in a couple of hours after the upload.

So, how about that? An app that’s free and is useful. Maybe not headline grabbing, but great potential for a sustained future.

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