SDC 2016 kicked off Day 1 yesterday, setting the stage for an informative and exciting conference. And while there are too many sessions, speakers and events to truly capture everything in one blog post, we thought we’d share some highlights for our friends and followers who couldn’t make it out to San Francisco this year.
After registering and exploring the sleek and modern aesthetic of the conference setup throughout the Moscone Center, SDC attendees entered the keynote theater to hear some of Samsung’s top leaders present their vision for the future and explore the new programs, tools and platforms available to help developers and partners create amazing experiences for consumers. Upon walking into the theater, attendees were greeted with a brilliant display of graphics, music and lights, with DJ Koh, President of the Mobile Communication Business within Samsung Electronics, taking the stage soon after. Along with Koh, speakers included Injong Rhee, EVP and Head of R&D on the Software and Services Mobile Communications Business team; Curtis Sasaki, VP of Ecosystems and IoT General Manager; Sang Kim, VP of Business Development; Alex Hawkinson, CEO and Founder of SmartThings; and Emily Becher, Head of the Samsung Accelerator Global Innovation Center, among several others. These speakers both explored the existing opportunities available and announced new innovations, like the ARTIK cloud service, Sound Camp and the Samsung Connect Auto platform.
Soon after, attendees roamed the pavilion to explore an array of displays from both Samsung teams and partners. In addition to exploring the latest innovations brands had to offer, conference-goers also enjoyed demoing products, taking part in tutorials, scoring some awesome swag and giveaways and even riding a 4D VR roller coaster.
After a quick lunch break, SDC guests checked out the Innovation Track, in which VP of Emerging Platforms Mihai Pohontu introduced the audience to a variety of Made for Samsung partners leveraging the Samsung ecosystem to deliver a premium consumer experience. CNN demonstrated how their brand is at the forefront of innovation by bringing customized, curated content to users across a variety of devices, including wearables, VR and smartphones. Later, a panel moderated by Peng Ning, SVP and Head of Samsung KNOX and Samsung Pay R&D, with representatives from Mastercard, Visa and American Express explored Samsung Pay and the future of digital payment. Some takeaways from this session: The world is trending away from cash and towards digital transactions, consumers are increasingly expecting payment to become a seamless background service and IoT and the connected home may present the next big opportunity for integrated payment. To wrap up the session, Pohontu returned to the stage with representatives from Expedia, Lyft and Skimble to chat about both what they have already achieved through Made for Samsung and what’s on the horizon for each of their brands. For Expedia, that means expanding the app to be worldwide. Lyft, meanwhile, looks forward to the possibilities that Samsung Auto Connect opens for them. And Skimble discussed the integration of medical grade sensors into everyday devices to help people enhance their overall wellness.
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the day was hearing superstars and industry leaders share their expertise in our Ask Me Anything — or AMA — sessions. Brett Leonard, filmmaker, VR futurist and StoryWorlder described the challenges and opportunities presented by storytelling in VR. Among his insights, Leonard shared that interactive audio presented a new artistic tool for filmmakers, that VR is “the most powerful medium in the history of mankind”, and that his film The Lawnmower Man was to be released in VR. Later, Andrew Toy of Android for Work discussed the nearly limitless enterprise opportunities available for developers. Beyond great apps and desktop features, Toy also mentioned that more and more brands are beginning to explore how they can leverage IoT. Tommy Thayer, renowned guitarist for mega band KISS, 11talked about his new storybook app for children, gave away a guitar, and shared that KISS does, in fact, put on their own makeup at every show (who would’ve guessed?). Next up in the AMA sessions were Marcel Samek and Tony Parisi from Wevr, a platform helping developers create quality VR content more easily. Key to great VR content, Samek and Parisi said, was that the experience must be truly immersive — not just in 360 video. That means devs should explore positional audio, acknowledging the user and creating a sense of agency through interactive capabilities. To top it off, hip hop star Flo Rida talked about his new app, Speed Gods, and the importance of accurately reflecting your brand through your app and creating a top-notch user experience.
With over 170 sessions at SDC 2016, we unfortunately can’t go over everything — otherwise, this blog post would turn into a novel — so we’ll limit ourselves to some key highlights. A range of sessions discussed how to take advantage of the newest technology, like Samsung Pay, Knox, ARTIK, Tizen, the Gear S2, Galaxy S7 Edge, Gear VR, Samsung Connect Auto and more. Some sessions included notable guest speakers, like 12-year-old Young Jun Lee, winner of the Junior Software Cup; the Samsung Champions, a group of accomplished software enthusiasts chosen to serve as developer advocates and liaisons between the Samsung and developer communities; and Eric Darnell, Creative Chief Officer and Co-founder of Baobab Studios and director and screenwriter for all four Madagascar films, who shared tips for bringing stories to life in VR (hint: Don’t let anyone tell you that you absolutely can’t do something in VR — you’ll probably make mistakes before you have a breakthrough). Other sessions covered the business sides of development, like Raising Capital for a Virtual Future, while still more sessions presented on the importance of design, like How to Put Magic in a Magical Product, and predictions for industry next steps, like The Future of Digital Health Care Service.
Samsung Epic Celebration
After an action-packed day, we couldn’t let it end without a bang. At 7:00 PM, SDC attendees headed to the first floor of the Moscone center for the Epic Samsung Celebration. Immediately, they were greeted by modern decor, ambient lighting and energetic background music. To start out the night, party-goers were offered a banquet full of gourmet food with an international flair and some San Francisco specialties. Beyond food and drink, the Celebration also offered a wide range of entertainment. Classics like Giant Jenga proved popular throughout the night, while high-tech activities like drone obstacle courses and Escape Tomb VR — an immersive VR experience in which players were tasked with escaping from an ancient tomb — were runaway hits. Finally, at 9:00 PM, British electronica band Underworld took the stage for a concert that was not just a musical performance, but a full-blown show. Attendees rocked out to music while an incredible display of lights and the dynamic stage presence of the band added to the experience. By the end of the night, SDC attendees left the electric vibe of the Celebration to head home, ready for a good night’s sleep to prepare for the last day of the conference.
With all the excitement and innovation of the first day of the conference, we can’t wait to bring you the details on Day 2 tomorrow — so stay tuned!