By Justin Molloy
In case you haven’t noticed, the digital world has changed dramatically in the last three years. When the first Xlab hit the streets of New York in 2011, we were living in a mobile-centric world where Steve Jobs had just departed our planet, Siri was launched, and everyone was consumed with the latest apps. In 2012, Xlab headed to Austin and we began to see that digital in spaces was going to be far more powerful than just devices. Rockwell Group had just completed the digital installation at The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas and designers were experimenting with Xbox Kinect sensors to create interactive media experiences. In 2013, Xlab examined the impact of digital experiences that were invading a much larger space than ever before—at the scale of the city, and public venues. We were no longer confined to a device, had moved beyond a screen, and were now engaging public audiences with new experiences that were undeniably immersive!
On the day after Xlab 2013, SEGD made a leap forward into the digital world by embracing a shift in our own nomenclature. The "E" in SEGD now stands for Experiential, marking our evolution to reflect where the rest of the world was already heading. That was then. So where are we now?
It is now October 2014, and SEGD is preparing to launch the fourth iteration of Xlab in New York, shepherding in the next round in the continual evolution of digital and its impact on EGD practice. The “X” in Xlab has always referenced the unknown, and the variable of change, that in digital increases exponentially each year.
The future of digital isn’t just about apps, or screens on a wall, or the message that will appear on a display. It is an interwoven ecosystem of content, systems, and user experience, with the ultimate goal of providing information or telling a story about a place.
This year’s Xlab represents a current snapshot of this digital landscape, and is designed to highlight what the latest “now” in digital represents and how you (yes you, the long-time SEGD member, Xlab fan, or digital native) can be a part of it. Xlab was designed to help you build a knowledge base in what is relevant NOW and learn to embrace the fact that that will change quickly! At Xlab, you'll learn from the globally renowned experts who are continually shaping what we all call “cutting-edge.”
Screens are more than just 16:9, beacon sensors are enabling a viable future for the Internet of Things and data shaped-place, and content that isn’t informational or story-rich gets zero attention. With all these changes, how is any designer, tech-saavy or not, able to keep up with it all and make sense of where it should be used, when, and why bother? That’s where Xlab comes in. As SEGD’s “other” conference, Xlab is our chance each year to highlight the latest innovations in digital and what they mean to you, your practice, and the spaces and places we are all a part of shaping.
Simply put, we made Xlab 2014 about you and your future--what you need to be thinking about in order to successfully make digital a part of your practice. We’ve done so by bringing the top industry and practice leaders in experiential design into a day-long forum that’s digestible, understandable, inspiring, and applicable to what you will be working on in the next year (and likely have already been asked by your clients to start integrating).
Our speakers are the digital pioneers leading the charge toward the future of experiential design for place. The program is organized around 4 primary content sessions--Insights, Content, Platform, and Make--with 3 to 4 speakers in each session. Each session represents a significant facet of the digital project process, and our speakers will bring you their insights—giving us a glimpse into the “X” that makes their digital projects unique. But we’re not playing show-and-tell here. The presentations are designed to keep your attention and get to the point (no long-winded portfolio shows here!) and will also engage you in the dialogue with the digital masters. There will be enough time to ask questions and find out why digital has evolved to its current state and what is coming next!
We’ll have two breaks throughout the day (plus the lunch hour on your own to connect with fellow attendees) to give you time to see the goods our amazing sponsors will be showcasing—and we’re not talking about just LED and LCD screens—we have representatives from all aspects of the digital world including content management, custom fabrication, and technology integration.
It’s going to be an amazing and infinitely inspiring day, and we want you to be a part of it. After crafting our program over the last 10 months with two of the top digital experts in content and integration (Bryan Meszaros of OpenEye and Anthony Vitagliano of Digital Kitchen), I can say I’m incredibly excited to get this group together and share their message and vision with you on November 6. This is the digital event you can’t afford to miss. Register now and be part of the future of Experiential Design.