Home Why we went low-tech showcasing high-tech smart cities at SXSW

Why we went low-tech showcasing high-tech smart cities at SXSW

Last month, our teams at StratIS and BuLogics exhibited at South by Southwest (SXSW) for the first time. We went there with a singular focus: to educate people on the importance of working together towards building smart cities. So often in the tech community, people want to quickly tear down what other’s have built or are trying to build. But it doesn’t have to always be this way.

We went extremely low tech to highlight the very high tech topic of smart cities.

We created a smart-cities-focused project for our booth that really stood out and had our employees slammed with networking opportunities.

If you know SXSW you know that it has grown tremendously noisy over the years with companies from many different industries competing for everyone’s attention.

Our marketing team met leading up to the event thinking about how we could ever compete with the amount of noise that is SXSW. We landed on Legos, yes Legos. But not just any legos, we challenged attendees to stop by our booth and help build a smart city out of legos.

Once that plan was set we worked hard to get the rest in place. Signage, stealing Legos from some of our children, holding a company-wide Lego night to practice building certain pieces, creating a promo video and figuring out how to ship all these little pieces.

StratIS is smart access, energy, and automation for multifamily buildings and campus communities and the smart start for smart cities.

Our team is dedicated to putting in the hard and real work for building the infrastructure needed for smart cities around the globe to thrive. For us, that starts with smart access, energy and automation.

For SXSW we took on the role of educator. Show us a smart city that has been built by one single solution, government, company or organization. It can simply, not be done. So our booth was a metaphor of sorts.

Our new in-house filmmaker created a film to promote the project at our booth.

I didn’t head to Austin with the rest of the team, but I could tell right away by monitoring our social media that the campaign was a huge success. People started taking photos of themselves at the show adding a piece to our Lego Smart City. The Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney even stopped by the booth. My coworkers must have been too in awe to snap a photo.

The Lego project got people talking, asking questions and involved far more than giving away a $5-$30 piece of swag would ever do for our brand.

The Lego Smart City attracted media attention, nonstop booth traffic, CTOs of Fortune 500 companies and SXSW attendees who just stopped to play.

The construction of the Lego city changed over the four-day event. Here is what it looked like at the end:

It was a great opportunity for our team to meet with city planners from all over the world and to continue the discussion with them about what their smart city needs are back home.

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James Calder

James is a marketing, communications, and PR professional specializing in B2B and B2C software in healthcare, software, and technology. He is an innovative and proactive builder focused on bridging C-level business demands with the creative side of marketing with product and content marketing.

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