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Finalists in 13 Categories Announced for 19th Annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards
Comedian Brooke Van Poppelen to host Awards ceremony
Baratunde Thurston to be inducted in SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Interactive Festival today announced 65 finalists for its 19th annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards, taking place on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:00 p.m. CDT at the Hilton Austin Downtown (Grand Ballroom, 6th Floor). Emceed by comic, actress, writer and life-hacker Brooke Van Poppelen, along with special guest Julian Velard, the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards celebrate the most inspiring and creative innovations in the connected world. This event is open to all SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum badgeholders.

Beyond the Awards ceremony, this year marks the first time that finalists have the opportunity to exhibit and demo their work at the Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase on Monday, March 14 from 12-3 p.m. CDT at the Hilton Austin Downtown (Salon C, 4th Floor). The Finalist Showcase offers SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum badgeholders a first look at the most exciting tech developments, including achievements in digital design, health technology, privacy and security, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, plus a chance to place their votes for the People's Choice Award.

"Each year, we are blown away by the caliber of the Interactive Innovation Awards finalists. This year, we'll get to share that excitement with SXSW Interactive attendees through the exhibitions and demos at the Finalist Showcase," said Mason Stewart, SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Coordinator. "Not only are we celebrating the best and brightest in innovation, we're putting the tangible achievements in front of a broad audience via the Finalist Showcase. We think this new platform will leave SXSW registrants even more inspired to embark on their own innovation journeys."

A panel of judges comprised of industry peers and experts reviewed over 550 applications to determine this year's finalists. The first round of the evaluation process included the Interactive Innovation Awards Gadget Fair, allowing judges to test and evaluate hardware and physical device entries. Each entry was graded on four criteria: creativity, form, function and overall experience. In a second round of voting, judges will determine the winner of all 13 categories and special honors, except for the People's Choice Award. Anyone with a SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge can vote on the People's Choice Award at the Finalist Showcase on Monday, March 14.  

The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards will reveal winners in each of the 13 categories plus six additional honors, including: Best of Show, People's Choice, Breakout Trend of the Event, Speaker of the Event and Meme of the Year. The ceremony will also include the induction of Baratunde Thurston into the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame. Baratunde is a bestselling author, activist, comedian, entrepreneur, and most recently, supervising producer at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, but also a longtime SXSW attendee and speaker.

NYC-based comedian and actress Brooke Van Poppelen will host this year's Innovation Awards Ceremony with special guest, singer songwriter, Julian Velard. Previous hosts include James Adomian, Jessica Chobot, Aisha Tyler, Jenny Slate and Gabe Liedman, Chris Hardwick, Doug Benson, Baratunde Thurston, Eugene Mirman, Ze Frank, Laura Swisher, and John Halcyon Styn.

The 2016 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Finalists include:

Awarded for the new technology that best improves the quality, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care in health and medicine

Awarded for the best new way to connect and communicate with others

Awarded for making 3D printing technology more accessible or affordable, or to the Maker using such technology in new and exciting ways

Awarded for 2015's best device or service that changes and improves the way we listen to and enjoy music

Awarded to those redefining the exchange of goods and services, from the sharing economy, to virtual currency, to micro-finance, to mobile-device-payment systems and beyond

Awarded for 2015's most progressive accomplishment in the way we go about securing our data and ensuring our privacy

Awarded for excellent digital design, creating the best-integrated interaction in terms of content, aesthetics, and functionality

Awarded for the coolest scientific achievement or discovery that before 2015 was only possible in science fiction

Awarded for innovations in eco-friendly or sustainable energy, transportation, and IoT technology, making life in the connected world a smarter, cleaner, greener, and more efficient Internet of Everything

Awarded to the student with an exceptional interactive technology project or startup; both of which are the future

Awarded for content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive and engaging entertainment experience

Awarded for breakthroughs in augmented reality & virtual reality technology including the application of new hardware or software which truly make the Virtual a reality

Awarded for the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally "on you"

The list of winners from the 2015 competition can be found here.

The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards ceremony and Finalist Showcase is open to all SXSW Interactive, Gold, and Platinum badgeholders. Accredited media are invited to attend the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards and Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase. The deadline to apply for press credentials is Wednesday, February 10, 2016. All journalists must be on assignment with a media outlet in order to be considered.

About SXSW Interactive

The 23rd annual SXSW® Interactive Festival returns to Austin from Friday, March 11 through Tuesday, March 15. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2016 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to discover the technology of tomorrow today.

Join us in March 2016 for the sessions, the networking, the special events, the 19th Annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards, SXSW Accelerator®, the SXSW Gaming Expo, the SXSW Trade Show, the SX Health & MedTech Expo, SX Create, The Job Market, cross-industry conversations with attendees from SXSW Film and SXSW Music, and, most of all, the unforgettable inspirational experiences that only SXSW can deliver.

SXSW Interactive 2016 is sponsored by Esurance, Mazda, Monster Energy, Capital One, Bud Light, Deloitte Digital, McDonald's, Ten-X and The Austin Chronicle.

Press Contact
Kelly Krause
Press + Publicity, SXSW Interactive


SOURCE South By Southwest Interactive Festival