Proving that culture and art can fuel business, the Polish booth at the SXSW Trade Show will showcase eight startups, new media and VR companies.
SXSW is one of the world's largest events for the international digital and creative economy. The festival in Austin, Texas, with an integrated conference and trade show, attracts more than 400,000 visitors from more than 90 countries each year. Trend topics on-site include VR/AR, MusicTech, Artificial Intelligence, FinTech, Smart Cities, Design, IoT and HealthTech. Keynote speakers in 2018 will include Darren Aronofsky, Lyor Cohen, Melinda Gates and Sadiq Khan.
This year the Polish booth set up by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Trade and Investment Agency will present eight startups, new media and VR companies straight from Poland. There will also be a showcase performance from the band Trupa Trupa.
1. panGenerator: Dodecaudion, Constellaction
panGenerator is a new media arts & design collective based in Warsaw, Poland. Since 2010, the group has been creating unique works that explore new means of expression and interaction through new media and technology. Their projects range from large-scale interactive installations for museums and festivals to novel musical interfaces and tiny wearables. Their artworks were presented at events such as Ars Electronica, DMY, Milan Design Week, Łódź Design, Pause Fest, Node Festival, WRO media art biennale, Warsaw Autumn and many others. In 2016, their installation Quantum of Peace for the Warsaw Uprising Museum was awarded the Golden Lion in Design at the renowned Cannes Lions Festival.
The group actively takes part in educational initiatives which aim to showcase the use of modern technologies in both art and design. All of their work is opensource and available under the Creative Commons license. At SXSW, they will present two of their creations: Dodecaudion and Constellaction.
Dodecaudion is a music controller which makes it possible to turn a body’s movement into sound. The concept behind the controller came from their observation that today, in the age of electronic music, a musician’s actual physical expression is very limited. They then took this idea and turned it around: how do one's movements affect music?
The Dodecaudion is 3D-printed and based on a dodecagon (in geometry, any twelve-sided polygon) which captures movement and turns it into sound. Each of the machines twelve aluminium sides is equipped with a distance sensor which measures the distance of the user's hands from the dodecagon. The Dodecaudion is wirelessly connected to a computer and the sound created depends on the software the user chooses. With Dodecaudion movement and music become one.
Constellaction is based on the phenomenon of emergence, whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties, the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit. It, therefore, seems to be controlled by something bigger, yet actually has no central controlling mechanism.
The Constellaction’s basic module is a regular tetrahedron made of vacuum-formed material. There are four light receptors, LEDs and a simple microcontroller inside each module. When one of the modules detects a sudden change in the intensity of light around it, it flashes and emits a sound, with a short delay. Thanks to this simple behaviour, the modules create something like ‘dominoes of light’. Users can arrange the modules as they like creating endless possibilities. Constellaction was made especially for 2013 edition of the Przemiany Festival held at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw.
Find out more: https://pangenerator.com/
UserEngage is a marketing automation system that helps companies communicate in a more human-friendly way. It gathers data about each website visitor and enables simple automation of messaging in all possible channels. This enables any company to create a comprehensive customer journey from the first visit to engaging a regular customer by coordinating efforts of marketing, sales and customer success teams.
Find out more: https://userengage.com/en/
3. Julian Cochran Foundation: ONSTAGE app
The Julian Cochran Foundation is a Poland-based group of professionals aiming to create cutting-edge solutions for culture and change the image of classical music through the use of innovative technologies.
In November 2017, the group launched ONSTAGE, a revolutionary mobile app for concert venues, festivals, sports and fashion events. The app amps up audience experience during big events allowing users in venues to watch close-ups of what is happening on the stage in real time. The ONSTAGE premiered during a classical music concert at the Warsaw Philharmonic, breaking the conventional barriers between artists and their audiences. Moreover, users will be able to rate what the event they are attending, chat with other users and share their own pictures and films, among other features.
The ONSTAGE app aims to make live events more palatable to today's digital natives who tend to favour online live streaming over live events. In doing so, the app will harness the energy of online communities: vloggers, social media influencers and digital activists will be given access to high-quality materials to share with their audiences. By licensing ONSTAGE venues are sure to attract and retain entirely new audiences.
Since 2014, the foundation has also organised the International Cochran Piano Competition – the first online piano competition which entirely redefines the traditional music competitions’ formula. 135 pianists from 34 countries took part in the third edition of the ICPC in 2017.
Find out more: www.juliancochranfoundation.com, www.onstageapplication.com
4. Seedia: Seedia City Classic
Seedia is a company that creates innovative eco-friendly solar benches that store electric energy from renewable energy sources (RES). This solution allows the consumers to charge their mobile devices and access the internet all over the city. Seedia's solar benches work as hot-spots and are equipped with a solar panel as well as mobile device chargers, both for inductive and USB charging. The devices also include built-in sensors that monitor their status.
The Seedia City Classic benches’ modular structure makes it possible to add parts: there are versions with or without a backrest, and a bike stand can be added as well. It also has LED lighting so that it will be visible from afar.
Find out more: https://seedia.city/
5. STKTK ltd.
STKTK ltd. was founded in August 2016 in Elbląg, by Bartosz Firmowski and Michal Kowalkowski. The high school friends decided to help bar and restaurant owners by creating a product that would allow them to save time and money by automating the stocktaking process. Bartosz Firmowski used his experience in logistics and gastronomy to come up with the idea. Michał Kowalkowski, a long time computer programmer and entrepreneur helped to turn it into a product.
The platform uses some of the newest technologies, such as Bluetooth, the cloud and real-time data analysis, to help businesses improve their performance – doing an inventory count will be less time-consuming, automated and much cheaper. The tools STKTK provides tools for fast and precise stocktaking: once you turn on Bluetooth on your phone stocktaking data will be automatically uploaded to the cloud so it can be analysed on any computer or mobile device. Furthermore, the app allows managers to easily schedule tasks for employees and control their company’s workflow.
In September 2016, STKTK received an audience award for their idea at the Elbląg Technology Park. In 2017, they received almost 200,000 EUR in funding from the European Union Programme organised by PARP. In December 2017, STKTK won the European Startup Award Poland 2017 in the gastronomy category.
Find out more: https://stktk.com/
6. The Farm 51 Group SA
The Farm 51 is a team of enthusiasts. They develop computer games and virtual reality apps and contribute to the dynamic growth of the new technologies market. Their projects combine game development experience, advanced photogrammetry and 3D scanning solutions, as well as a passion for telling interesting, original stories. The Farm 51 also includes the Reality 51 team, which is focused primarily on technological advancements and the virtual reality market. The Farm 51 also works with leading educational centres in Poland.
The company was founded in 2005 by three veterans of the gaming industry: Kamil Bilczyński, Robert Siejka and Wojtek Pazdura. Since then, The Farm 51 has grown – today employs over 100 people. Since 2012, the company has been listed on the NewConnect market of the WSE, which enabled its development. So far, they have created or collaborated on over ten games and VR applications. They are a licensed developer for Microsoft, Sony, Samsung and iOS platforms. Their latest projects include two games: Get Even and World War 3, and the Chernobyl VR Project.
The Farm 51 firmly believes that Virtual Reality (VR) is not only about entertainment. They aim to leverage computer game mechanics to create an interactive account of the tragic fate of the people and places affected by the Catastrophe of Time. The Chernobyl VR Project is a virtual experience which allows you to visit the ghost town of Pripyat and the Chernobyl Power Plant and learn about their history. Together, let’s find out the future that was lost. It is the very first virtual tour around the Chernobyl and Pripyat area, compatible with multiple VR headsets, such as Oculus and PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, or the mobile Samsung Gear VR solution, all in beautifully rendered 3D photogrammetrical scans of the locations and buildings, that are basically a digital copies of these places, combined with spherical photography and stereoscopic videos.
Find out more: http://www.thefarm51.com/eng/
7. Centrala: Tiger in a Cocoon, Whispers, The Possesed
Centrala has been producing documentary and fiction films since 2004. So far, Centrala has produced 25 films that have been shown at dozens of international festivals including Cannes, Vision du Reel, Hot Docs, Warsaw Film Festival and others, and have received over 50 awards in many categories, including 10 Grand Prix. In 2015, Centrala began producing cinematic VR experiences and, in co-operation with Łódź Film School, the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and the Institute of Psychology of Polish Academy of Sciences, they have been working to develop the language of the new medium.
Their music video Tiger in a Cocoon was selected to be presented at a number of prestigious series of showcases organised worldwide by Kaleidoscope VR. There are currently two experiences in production (both 360 3D and ambisonic): the medium length documentary Whispers and VR adaptation of theatrical play The Possessed based on Dostoyevsky’s novel.
Tiger in a Cocoon is a music video for the Loa Frida band which is one of the first films in the world that uses the 3D spherical image asynchronous recording technique and the spatial editing technique. Both are currently being developed by Circus Digitalis and Centrala.
Whispers is a 30-minute-long VR non-narrative documentary that transports you the world of the Whisperers – a world of magic, wild nature and pagan rituals. Whisperers are women who use the healing powers of words, gestures and images to treat their patients.
The Possessed is a 40-minute-long VR experience which is a restructured VR adaptation of a theatrical play produced by Studio Theatre in Warsaw.
Find out more: http://www.centralafilm.pl/
NUADU is an interactive platform which makes it possible for teachers to give tailor-made homework to their students in the easiest way possible. Our platform is fully integrated with the core educational curriculums of most countries in the world.
Their goal is simple: they strive to make it possible for each child to fully reach their potential and for teachers to have an easy-to-use tool that can help them develop students' knowledge and skills.
The concept for NUADU was created in 2014 in Poland. Marcin Wojnowski, Paweł Czech and Marcin Krasowski are currently at the heart of the company. In October 2016, they began to expand they made the platform available for a worldwide audience; in Poland alone, they currently have over 25,000 users, and NUADU is being used in the Philippines Turkey, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Find out more: http://nuadu.com/
Limitless is a fintech startup founded in London 2016 with offices located in Amsterdam and Warsaw. Between the two founders, they have 30 years of financial expertise working for companies like Schroders, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, and J.P. Morgan, as well as hedge funds, tech startups and B2B companies. At the end of 2017, they launched their white-labelled micro-investment app targeting millennials and licensed to financial institutions in co-operation with an EU-wide Dutch bank. Its hassle-free interface helps users put aside money each month so that they can save for something special.
Find out more: https://limitlessapp.io/
(Musical bonus) Trupa Trupa
Not quite a startup, but a sensational music group from Poland that is currently garnering major attention and praise. Trupa Trupa will be playing at BD Riley's at midday on 16th March. Don't miss it!
Find out more: http://www.trupatrupa.com/
(Video bonus) Oly. – Growing Young
Katarzyna Sawicka's music video for Oly.'s Growing Young has gotten into the official selection for SXSW's Music Video Competition. The dream-like friendship of two young girls getting older has already been lauded at other festivals including the Raindance Film Festival in the UK and the LA Music Video Festival. Repeated screenings will be shown at Alamo Lamar.
Find out more: https://www.katarzyna-sawicka.com / https://www.facebook.com/olyofficial
The Polish booth at SXSW is organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Trade and Investment Agency.