Bob Knauf
Polycom Employee

I started my SXSW blog posts about how the music fest still had its roots firmly grounded in its history of incredible performances.  This still holds true after the 2014 festival, but with a caveat.  There was definitely a larger corporate presence in Austin that started with an over-the-top SXSW Interactive fest that had turned about 75% of the the quaint downtown and East Austin businesses into corporate sponsored hot-spots, charging stations, network lounges and the like.  Seriously, how many places do I need to charge my phone and grab an energy drink? 


As for the music festival, corporate sponsors were everywhere sponsoring venues, shows and individual bands.  Some of the biggest sponsors brought in acts like Keith Urban, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga.  Ms. Gaga herself said that without her chip-making sponsor backing her and other performances here at SXSW, there would be no show.   I agree and totally get it.  It is outrageously expensive to put on a great, safe show.  At Polycom we do these amazing sponsorships with our equipment, so not only do we get to help out the producers of the events, we also get to utilize our solutions and technology.   


We averaged about 5,000 unique visitors each day of the music festival on our stream with viewers from all over the globe.  For our venue, that meant almost 20,000 new visitors to their webstore to shop for their favorite band's album or other cool merchandise.  For the bands, it meant their existing fans and hopefully some new fans were able to enjoy a great show.  That is what I love about streaming technology, the ability to bring the experience right to the person, no matter where they are.  Last week it was music, this week it could be a high-profile conference or a required training for my company.


I described some of the challenges in putting on quality live streams in a previous post, but as an update, I wanted to say that we had every techie's worst nightmare happen the last day of the show - RAIN!   The first show of the day had to be moved indoors, which was a bit of a bummer, because almost 1500 people were waiting in line to see The 1975 and the store could only hold about 350 people.  That being said, the band went above and beyond what most would do and played multiple performances so almost all the folks in line could see them perform live inside.  I have posted a picture of me actually filming one of the performances (I am the one holding the camera with the hat on with all the girls standing behind me). 




It was an incredible experience at SXSW.  We delivered over 30 hours of amazing music live to people globally and now will be available on-demand for people to access at their convenience starting later this week.  I hope that in 2015, we will be able to do more streaming and add-in some other technology that will certainly bring me and other Polycomers sleepless nights!  I would have it no other way.