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Austin Startups
Aug 17
🫵🏽 Now is your chance to take part in defining the largest, most influential technology innovation event of the year. Help promote leading corporate partners who are deeply engaged with the Austin tech ecosystem!
March may be 7 months away, but PanelPicker voting closes this Sunday, August 21st. Voting takes just a few minutes and we need you to do your part!
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🎨 Creators, Brand & Media
A discussion of actionable steps, balanced with visionary future thinking and concept building. The conversation will focus on what implementing XR looks like for working artists and musicians. Conversation will address how creatives can navigate the full scope of the Metaverse, including the logistics, UX / UI, curation, and idea development for future projects. Session is designed to reflect on why right now is “the best time for artists and musicians” by taking full advantage of immersive technology. In doing so, creatives will retain ownership of their ideas, while simultaneously building community. Key topics will also focus on what steps can be taken now to start on a path for future world builders, harnessing all aspects of their creativity.
Volumetric capture offers brands an opportunity to do more with video-based activations. Brands like Coke, Samsung and the PGA have followed on the heels of tech savvy artists like Coldplay, BTS, and Madonna in using volumetric capture to create memorable experiences that invite deeper engagement from your audience. Learn how holographic video can elevate your brand experience by making the leap from 2D to 3D from a single capture session, and how existing mobile and PC devices are a perfect platform for engaging customers with tomorrow’s technologies today. This panel is comprised of professionals actively working enabling advertising and marketing experiences that drive audience engagement with futuristic technology that’s available today.
In the months leading up to the launch of Here And There Festival, an inaugural touring festival curated by Courtney Barnett, a team of marketing, creative, branding, and tech professionals developed a first of its kind collaboration between Courtney, the Microsoft research team, and its NUWA AI Model. Courtney Barnett sent Microsoft 1000 of her drawings to teach the NUWA machine learning technology to “draw” like her. This idea was inspired by Here And There Festival and her emphasis on place and community. The team was interested in the way experiences and memories effect the way we think about geographical places. With the help of Microsoft, they developed a landing page where fans could enter inputs about places that are special or significant to them. Their answers were then analyzed
Innovations like smartphones, digital tools, and online marketplaces have transformed music making and lowered the barrier to becoming a creator. When musical instruments are virtual, what new frontiers of creativity, learning and collaboration will be unlocked? Find out from innovators working in Mixed Realities as artists, inventors, researchers, and entrepreneurs.
Mixed Reality, a spectrum of experiences that combine virtual and physical elements, has huge potential for professional musicians and beginners alike to create and perform music in ways that were previously unimaginable. This session explores what’s happening now and what the future holds for making music in mixed realities.
Advertising has the power to shape society and drive our economy, but our industry has a bias problem. We’ve made strides in eliminating prejudice and inequality in creative, media spend, and representation, but the same level of effort has not been applied to the tech that connects brands and consumers. It’s time to hold ourselves accountable. Join leaders from across the advertising industry for an eye-opening, candid discussion about how bias is deeply rooted into the tech platforms that power our entire industry and learn what we can all do now to be a part of the solution. (NOTE: This session is submitted as a presentation, but can easily be turned into a panel with additional leadership from agencies, brands, and trade associations)
Fostering civic engagement and catalyzing public support around key issues is a central issue in our fight against climate change. Minecraft has become a novel, fun, and accessible way to engage young people to learn more and propose solutions to our most challenging problems, while building momentum around real world activities. Every year, students and teachers around the world join Minecraft build challenges, which channel student creativity for prompts like ‘creating peace with nature’ and ‘designing more sustainable infrastructure’. These programs leverage the Minecraft gaming platform to raise young people’s voices on issues like the climate crisis and drive real world impact.
In a state of global awareness and demand for inclusion, we must challenge unconscious biases and create safe spaces for all communities, including our engineering development organizations. Words widely used for decades in computer code and other technical contexts are problematic, but organizations like ours can make consistent, responsible choices to remove harmful language.
Jerome J. Sanders will discuss how we partner with our engineering organizations on moving from policy to practice through People, Process, and Tools along with an overview of the steps we took, lessons learned, our plan to promote employee awareness, and cultural change, and what remains to be done.
An interactive fireside chat on building community and ecosystems from the following perspectives:
Quantum computing is a topic loaded with extraordinary expectation, and it promises to have a significant impact on society. Technologists place financial services as one of the top industries to be transformed, with banks in possession of an ocean of compelling customer data. But what does that really mean and how are companies beginning to scratch the surface of its potential?
Quantum computing will be used for a variety of innovations and calculations across all industries that were not possible with previous computers. However, the problem we face in financial services is determining how we can leverage quantum computing in alignment with the industry’s greater goals. Quantum computing could transform financial services — let’s all move quickly to capitalize on the face of change.
Although 90% of a company’s environmental impact comes from its supply chain, organizations struggle to understand their true environmental impact because most of it occurs in the far-away corners of their supply chains. Without visibility, companies cannot meaningfully reduce their carbon footprint, making the fight against climate change virtually impossible. Digital supply chain technologies with advanced ESG modeling, analytics and planning capabilities will be essential in enabling industries to adopt sustainable, low-carbon operating models. Consumers will benefit from an abundance of competitively-priced sustainable product options. Inaction will have the opposite effect as disruptive climate events will make supply chains increasingly unreliable and costly.
Underrepresented startup founders lack access to the exclusive world of venture capital, receiving a tiny percentage of institutional funding each year (e.g., only 1.2% of VC funding goes to Black-founded startups). There’s a big opportunity for companies to build product grant programs that help businesses grow their customer base, and in turn increase their chances at receiving VC funding. Tech for Black Founders puts powerful technology tools into founders’ hands so they can achieve the scalable and sustainable growth that funders want to see before they invest. Tech for Black Founders grant recipients will join customer engagement platform Braze and AWS to discuss what’s needed for a more equitable future for underrepresented founders.
Fundraising looks different for underrepresented founders — everything from the pitch to the term sheet. Many underrepresented founders are not aware of the bias they experience and how to navigate investor relationships and conversations. In the other side, there are key characteristics underrepresented founders should be looking for in investors when building partnerships.
In this panel, underrepresented founders of unicorns will share what they have learned during their fundraising journeys and actionable feedback to help founders transform their conversations with investors. They’ll also share what to look out for in potential investors other than capital.
From a pre-seed round to a billion-dollar valuation, the world’s top startups build on AWS.
We have been assisting startups for over a decade and have mentored many of them. As a result, we have gained a comprehensive understanding of the use cases and behavioral patterns of startups that go on to become unicorns. Furthermore, our team has a large network of relationships with key stakeholders (Angels, Incubators, and VC) in the startup ecosystem, giving us insight into what investors look for in startups.
This panel will discuss the strategies and patterns of behavior of unicorn founders. Our experts will provide insights into what makes these Founders successful and how you can apply these lessons to your own startup journey.
What if you started your own company… inside your current company? In this session, a team of playful mischief-makers from a large organization will share their accessible, field-tested approach to launching and running an award-winning start-up… inside their company. Based on first-person experience and hands-on research, you’ll learn a practical, field-tested, step-by-step approach to launching an autonomous organization that creates products and services customers love… while still maintaining a connection to your larger corporation’s mission (and support structures). You’ll discover how to turn your current company into a customer… and how to serve your company’s customers too.
Artificial intelligence offers the potential to reshape behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment in the coming years. Is your healthcare organization prepared to keep pace?
In this session we will discuss the reasons to integrate AI in behavioral health and addictions areas and future opportunities.
Examples of use cases we will review:
Since the artificial intelligence (AI) field was born, we have often looked at AI through the lens of its utility: Does it accomplish its task…or not? That paradigm is shifting as AI matures and its influence penetrates all aspects of our lives and work. To be sure, discussions over the ethics of AI are not new, but even after so much debate, we do not appear to be much closer to balancing the risks and rewards of AI for everyone. Why is this such a challenge?
AI and Edge Computing are two emerging technologies that are revolutionizing the application of automation in varied domains. Edge AI is about deploying human-like intelligence on sensors, devices, smart phones, wearables and routers. They will drive smart homes, smart cities, logistics, robotics and customer experiences in the future.
As the world races to build and deploy Edge AI solutions, a number of challenges need to be solved in creating and managing Edge AI products and solutions, including technology and privacy.
Join Kumaran Ponnambalam, Principal Engineer — Edge AI at Cisco as he discusses the current state and future directions of Edge AI. He will share his thoughts around where and how Edge AI will be successful and the challenges that need to be solved for that.
Currently, there is tremendous interest form the private, public, and academic sectors regarding implementing ethical AI in state and local governments. We have seen this through the significant interest with our Smart Hand Tools project, and other projects, from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Governments want to know the ethical and policy implications of AI, and private industry is keen to work on these issues with the public sector and academia. There are many challenges facing state and local governments, from aging infrastructure to housing to the impacts of a changing climate, and there are many potential benefits that AI can offer. These can include expanding employment opportunities, optimizing allocation of scarce resources, and planning new building projects.
On October 28, 2021, Facebook announced it’s name change to Meta. That move planted a flag in a category that existed previously only in abstract from. It’s here now and it has a name. With average screen time at 7 hours, millions of consumers ordering delivery from their smartphones, and viral phenomenons like Pokemon Go!, we are defining the category with every new use case. So how does this generation of entrepreneurs, product designers, and engineers take advantage of the development of a limitless, digital world? Join us as we discuss the developments happening with physical networks and how they help and hinder the delivery of the metaverse to billions. We will talk through a few opportunities presented with a new compute platform transformation we haven’t seen since mobile.
Envisioning a people-centric digital future requires a vast cross-sector community of bold social innovators to explore the premise that we need positive alternative models for how technology systems, protocols, and platforms that govern daily life online are designed, built, and governed. Right now, the balance is off — many technologies are beneficial, but we need to better understand the circumstances that yield good outcomes and those that are likely to produce harm. Open protocols and adaptive governance mechanisms could complement regulatory reform efforts to support greater interoperability, security, privacy, transparency and accountability in our digital future. The session will be interactive and rooted in digital inclusion and advancing fundamental human rights.
In today’s competitive market, no longer can employers simply offer up a basic benefits plan and hope they’re addressing employee health needs. Employees are seeking a tailored approach to their health care that is low cost, high quality and offers an enhanced experience. While meeting these needs, employers also aim to improve productivity, presenteeism, retention and recruitment. In this ever-changing environment, how can both receive what they need? Join Kevin Cassidy, President of National Accounts and Chief Growth Officer for Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), for a deep dive into the trends and future expectations of employer-sponsored health benefits, how the system must work together to support workers and their families, and how innovators can get involved.
Many employers struggle to find diverse, qualified cloud talent. This results in an opportunity for academia and industry to unite to prepare underrepresented minorities for the modern workforce. This session will explore how academic minority-serving institutions built solutions that prepare women and underrepresented minority students for cloud roles. Learn how you can replicate this success to train and connect with hundreds of thousands of diverse learners around the world.
Aisha Lawrey, Global Head, Education Programs — Americas Training & Certification, Amazon Web Services
Hiring professionals are tempted to poach workers who have spectacular resumes and those who seem they can offer a lot on the table for the company. Nearly three-quarters of 600 hiring professionals say that they have poached an employee (74%) and they have had an employee poached by another company (73%), found a survey by Skynova.
People are central to the essential work of businesses and the most Important element in a high-performing organization.
In this session, Jason Walker and Rey Ramirez, HR Leaders, Cisco alums, and Co-founders of Thrive HR Consulting, will share practical tips for building a cool team for your organization. They will reveal proven techniques for successfully poaching the best and brightest talent currently-employed by your competitors.
It’s simply not possible to hire all of the software development talent we need today. Competition is tight for limited talent, salaries are rising, and the pace of change in software frameworks, tools and processes is accelerating. From the largest corporations to small startups, it’s beyond time we change the team-building paradigm. More businesses need to realign their values and begin to shift some team-building focus away from hiring and into investments in alternative approaches. We build the talent in our organizations through inventive training and development activities that create strong cultures and help great talent shape their own growth, benefiting individuals and businesses alike.
Generation Z is challenging everything: from societal norms to social media usage and consumption. But what about the professional landscape? What do they want from their careers? To understand a generation that is so modern and dynamic, we looked where they engage most and leveraged their high presence on social media. We analysed their conversations about career paths and professional lives to unlock their “Audience Truths”. By tapping into the power of Social Intelligence and using advanced language analytics, we were able to discover Gen Z’s needs and pain points in the world of work. These are key for building an emotional connection between Gen Z and Microsoft. Join our session to understand Gen Z and how they are transforming the future of the workforce.
The value proposition for customers has been clear since the first representation of humans as holograms appeared in film and television: provide human presence that’s the next best thing to being there. While digital doubles and avatars are a way to deliver presence in immersive experiences, it’s possible to go beyond the avatar, and instead go straight to the source: volumetric capture and live holographic broadcast technologies that provide an extra layer of authentic human representation. Delivering on that rich, authentic, human presence in immersive experiences is a serious business. A new wave of industries sets their sights on delivering the next generation of human representation for the Metaverse at scale.
Futurists are not-so-secretly historians: to make predictions about tomorrow, they must ground themselves in the lessons of the past. In a time where technology has accelerated, futurists and business leaders must look at yesterday’s lessons to drive the business strategies of tomorrow. In this session, Deloitte Consulting’s chief futurist, Mike Bechtel, will discuss the history of IT and its evolution along 3 cornerstones of computing: interaction, information, and computation, and how organizations can use the lessons learned to build a strategy fit for the future. Mike will also discuss the responsibilities leaders must consider with the power and simplicity of technology, and how to “mind the digital gap,” meaning that they must apply innovation through a lens of inclusivity, fairness.
The rush is on to upskill or reskill employees in cybersecurity. Here’s how to ensure your company’s cybersecurity training is a success.
Hackers are growing smarter, mastering sophisticated ways of penetrating networks and IT systems. Through adequate security awareness training and cybercrime protection programs, companies can learn how to protect themselves from emerging cybercrime threats.
Goal and expectation setting and building diverse teams to optimize success.
Change is constant — and it’s a challenge advertisers must anticipate in today’s world. Consumers are relying on new digital avenues for commerce and leisure while expecting more personalization and privacy. Business strategies are shifting, media channels and marketing partners are evolving and advertisers must adapt their measurement strategies to response to these shifts. Join this session to hear directly from Gena Stanglein, Director of Marketing Science, Meta, and Ken Nelson, US Engagement Lead Managing Director, Deloitte as they discuss the importance of a new, Measurement 360 framework and how it prepares advertisers for the changing landscape and future-proofs approaches to measuring performance.
The pandemic led to widespread adoption of communication tools, including instant messaging platforms and videoconferencing software, without significant research on how to use them effectively. These tools enabled sufficient communication among colleagues and clients that we quickly deemed them to be an unbridled success. Yet, these tools have significant limitations. While they support conversations among individuals who are already part of an existing team, they make it difficult to engage with the more distant ties that bind large organizations together. They also elevate some voices at the expense of others. This panel brings together experts to discuss thinking through how we communicate in distributed organizations to ensure a diverse set of voices are represented in key decisions.
Quantum computers represent a new paradigm that may drive not just incremental business change, but fundamental transformation as new capabilities and abilities come online. In areas ranging from machine learning to optimization to materials science, quantum technologies will transform the way we live and work. In fact, estimates show that 25% of Fortune 500 companies will be using quantum computers in the next three years. However, these upsides come with potential concerns — threats to encryption and ethical concerns. In this session, audiences will learn why forward-thinking leaders have already begun testing the upsides and planning for the implications, and how businesses can find a starting point in creating a practical integrated quantum strategy.
Our mental health system is broken because of a lack of cross-sector collaboration, poor innovation, and non-inclusive design. Despite these challenges, a new paradigm of system design is growing. This paradigm is focused on using persona driven design journeys to build systems of care that are rooted in equity centered design and inclusion-based innovation. This talk will focus on: 1) teaching the audience how to build/use personas to drive design; 2) the principles of equity-centered design; and 3) how to employ inclusion-based innovation.
Bullying, gender discrimination, and other forms of verbal toxicity that frequently occur during multi-player game play cost the gaming industry billions of dollar each year in dropped subscriptions and lost customers… and it’s directly counter to the inclusivity and accessibility inherent in gaming that we want to be promoting. It isn’t just about the language, it’s even more about tone and context. Eliminating toxicity to create safe, inclusive spaces for game play is a highly complex challenge, especially for multiplayer games that incorporate realtime voice chat — but it CAN be solved through the intelligent application of machine learning. Solutions must be flexible, allowing for different tolerances and languages, and enabling a range of remediation and escalation options.
Innovative Community Action to Address Vet Suicide
There is no single cause of suicide and prevention strategies must be multi-pronged/evidence based. Veterans die by suicide at 2x the rate of the non-military connected population. We need to identify/implement innovative solutions where Veterans work, live and thrive — a shift from traditional models focused on medical/clinical interventions and Veterans stepping forward. The panel will share results and insights of a multi-disciplinary convening where private, non-profit, academic and government organizations worked together to generate actionable, measurable, and evidence-based risk-reduction strategies for three diverse/often underserved Veteran subpopulations. This builds on the Action Alliance’s work to leverage public private partnerships and innovation to transform communities.
Nearly 50 million adults in the United States experienced some form of mental illness in 2022, and more than half of them received no treatment for their conditions. Seeking mental health care today can feel like being trapped in a labyrinth without a map. Individuals in crisis are trafficked between emergency rooms, group care settings, psychiatric wards, and even incarceration and the streets. Panelists will use a human-centered design lens to rethink our current system and envision a more equitable, accessible future of mental health care. We have the knowledge and the tools to drastically improve the mental health situation in the US– what we need is willpower and imagination.
In this panel discussion, we bring together leading minds in Web3, Social Impact, Crypto, and Fintech to engage in a deep and important discussion about the real problems in the country and the world today. We’ll discuss the rising intolerance, the radicalization of thought, the weaponization of social platform and the effect that all of this negativity is having on the well-being of individuals alike. Furthermore, the panelists will bring their decades of experience to bear in offering thought exercises for solutions that the new wave of technology (Web3, Metaverse, NFTs) can explore in order to help promote a better world for all of us.
Kids are facing huge issues like belonging, fear, call-out culture, cancel culture, fixed mindset vs growth mindset, etc. FIRST Robotics and its collaborators held 6-months of listening sessions with psychologists, activities programmers, parents, kids and other educator stakeholders to explore how adults can better help build the competencies and confidence that leads to higher self-esteem. The result? The national “MORE THAN” campaign leveraging insights and data that speak to the feelings that kids carry in relation to bias and social assumptions; and th role adults play in preparing young people for the future.
1. Describe the data demonstrating technology and the pursuit of health equity, notably how COVID-19 laid bare the health inequities that exist in our country
2. Describe how technology advances health equity or exacerbates health inequity
3. Describe several innovations done by healthcare organizations to address health inequities illuminated by COVID-19 on testing, vaccination, and related to social needs and systemic, structural issues
4. Outline actions healthcare organizations can take to advance opportunities and support vulnerable populations to reduce health inequities, including addressing misinformation and disinformation
Why would an executive from Microsoft’s highest ranks take the helm of a federal agency undergoing a complex, highly scrutinized digital transformation? Because Dept. of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and CIO Kurt DelBene likes to solve problems — such as overhauling for President Obama after its disastrous launch. Kurt has a passion for technology and desire to create products that make life better. As CIO of VA, which runs the largest healthcare system in the US and is the nation’s largest benefits provider, he’s creating a technology-based healthcare system to serve Veterans and their families — and reimagining government at the same time. He will transform VA into the best IT shop in Federal government and an example for the industry.
This session looks at how to capitalize on immersive learning to reshape work and open doors for marginalized groups in underserved communities. The accelerated nature of change left many populations behind, and exacerbated inequities in education opportunities. Simultaneously, technology is advancing as virtual worlds and physically accurate digital realms accelerate the next wave of business disruption. Organizations should consider the entire learning ecosystem to meet diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges. By exposing historically marginalized groups — who encounter significant accessibility barriers in education — to immersive physical and metaphysical experiences, organizations can better position themselves and the future workforce for the new world of work.
There are many misconceptions about video games and learning. Two things are clear: 1) more people engage in gaming than in any other form of media and 2) esports is quietly transforming the education experience at schools around the world. Dive in with our panel of experts from Intel, Microsoft, and more as we discuss the enormous difference esports, or competitive video gaming, is making for students in the areas of social-emotional learning, DEI, and future-forward skills.
One billion people in the world are living with a permanent, situational, or temporary disability. That’s one in seven people globally. And according to the Center for Disease Control, one in four adults are living with a disability in the United States. Whether global or US specific, these numbers represent a huge part of your learning audience.
Considering differently-abled populations alongside those who don’t have access to digital technologies or do not feel represented in a learning experience can extremely expand your reach and impact of a learning experience.
By creating spaces to include all voices, we can shape the future of learning to reflect the global population and grant new pathways to learning. And design practices are the key to transform these spaces.
Today, 65% of jobs require some education beyond high school. In the U.S. 62% of working age adults do not have a degree. Together, these numbers illustrate why we have a skills gap; we need to help more Americans upskill to find sustainable employment. This demands coordination among education providers, employers and policy makers. Unfortunately, current policy proposals undermine potential solutions like online learning which could help quickly expand education access to millions of learners.
XR is changing industries in many areas — from architecture to education to entertainment, and automotive is no exception. Applications of virtual and mixed reality is transforming the way people collaborate, learn, and create. Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) presents a look at how this exciting new technology has found its way into the organization, from the early conception of our trucks in the design studio to the manufacturing of our engines in the Detroit plant. As you get a look at how this technology has taken hold within the company, we will share our vision of how XR will help us
continue to pioneer the industry. By fostering this new technology, we can transform how we work to keep the world moving.
Autonomous trucks are no longer a distant dream. They are becoming the largest economically viable opportunity for the technology. Before autonomous trucks move beyond demonstration into real-world operation, two large hurdles remain — Functional Safety and Cyber Security.
As Director of Autonomous Engineering at Daimler Truck North America, Suman Narayanan will talk about safety and why we are engineering not just for how the truck will react but also through every foundational decision point the truck makes along its journey. Beyond this complex and unprecedented challenge, we also face the need for stringent security measures to protect autonomous trucks from potential threats, such as those presented by hackers.
They are so taken for granted most people don’t notice them in everyday life. Yet, if they’d disappear tomorrow, our world wouldn’t be the same. Millions of trucks are on the road day and night to make modern life as we know it possible. While trucks are still often considered rugged, dirty machines, what’s inside them is actually high tech. This is all the more true as electrification continues to advance. As transportation pioneer, we at Daimler Truck North America are at the forefront of bringing all-electric trucks to the roads. Andreas Juretzka, eMobility Product Development Lead, will reveal the role transportation plays in our lives, how a wild idea turned into a battery-electric heavy-duty truck, and what the journey into the future of electric transportation will look like.
Daimler Truck North America, A leader in commercial vehicles continues to dominate the market. How does a company with deep roots in manufacturing emerge as a digital leader to support the backbone of our society? A 2012 vision to create a digital twin for our freight network becomes a reality today to deliver real-time insights for over 260 thousand vehicles across the country. How can we influence our customers and partners to adopt data-driven decision-making to optimize our freight network by switching to Zero emission vehicles, reinforce our service network, and develop new business opportunities? Saajan Patel, Product Manager, Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence, will highlight why this technology has the power to get ahead of the curve on the inevitable transformation.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is transforming our cities and our lives with an array of mobility options on demand… but the path to a sustainable, equitable transit system is unclear. Our panelists will share their differing visions of MaaS, how technology will play a role, who will pay for it, and how our cities will adapt. We will debate the privatization of public transportation, the economics of personal mobility, and which car manufacturers and tech companies are poised to lead the competition. And we will answer once and for all: Is the era of car ownership over?

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