More than Music: SXSW 2018

By: Hannah Howard Bink, Director of Field Marketing

Blockchain. Smart Cities. Virtual Reality. Those were just a few of the on-trend topics at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) annual celebration of interactive media, music and film. Zayo is a strategic partner for SXSW, providing colocation services from our Austin data centre. The event gives us a chance to network with the tech community from around the world and solidify relationships with our Texas clients — a base of customers that has grown significantly over the past few years as we have tripled our fibre footprint in the state.

Zayo also supports the local startup community through our partnership with Capital Factory, Austin’s leading entrepreneurship centre. At the ATX Startup Crawl, the opening celebration of technology and entrepreneurship attracted 10,000 participants, and gave us the opportunity to premiere our new augmented reality experience, which provides a virtual tour of our data centres. Many of the participants were surprised — and we think inspired — to discover that Zayo was a small startup just a decade ago.

Capital Factory hosted a Diversity and Inclusion panel, which attracted hundreds and was live streamed. Zayo’s CIO Sandi Mays shared her perspectives, including plenty of examples ranging from being stereotyped and objectified to insights about her current role as a successful leader in a male-dominated field, with a team that is comprised of more than 60 percent women. Other companies represented on the panel were: Atlassian, Uber, Strong Connexion, Change Catalyst and Duo Security.

In addition to hosting customer events, we had the opportunity to attend conference sessions, panel discussions and networking events. The buzz was blockchain, a decentralized, distributed ledger for all types of records, including cryptocurrency. It’s being called the first digital medium for value, just as the internet was the first digital medium for information.

Virtual and augmented reality continue to take the world by storm, with new use cases that range from real estate to healthcare. The real potential for these technologies goes beyond the cool headsets to future innovation with applications that we are just beginning to imagine. This year, SXSW hosted the Cities Summit, with opportunities for civic leaders and technologists to talk about the transformation of our cities — another topic of keen interest to Zayo since cities depend on communications infrastructure to deliver breakthrough services.

An ATX Startup Crawl attendee explores our data centers with a virtual tour at the Zayo booth.

We couldn’t stay to catch much of the music. But we came home more than jazzed about the technology, community and collaboration on solutions to some of the world’s most important challenges.

Hannah Howard Bink leads the Global Field Marketing team for Zayo Group. She has 10 years of marketing experience, specializing in events and content strategies, and studied business at Pennsylvania State University. Prior to Zayo, Hannah was a Product Marketing Manager at Cordant Health Solutions, where she took a new product line to market and lead the company’s rebranding effort. She is also the author of the “Musings of a Marketeer” blog.