Daimler is looking into the Future at the World’s largest Digital Conference in Austin

9 Mar 2017
gadget time

Stuttgart. Daimler AG and its brands smart, moovel and car2go are guests at the world’s largest digital conference, South by Southwest® (SXSW®) in Austin, Texas for the first time. The agenda shows central future topics, which are discussed in workshops, virtual reality installations and discussion groups. The unique mix of digital conference, music as well as film festival sets a world-wide emphasis on social issues. Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, will be explaining why highly accurate maps are of crucial importance for the continued development of autonomous driving. His speech will take place on March 11 at 9:30 a.m. in the Hotel JW Marriot Austin Downtown. The “house of smart” that is being staged in parallel to the conference is extending an invitation to a total of 15 interactive sessions and discussions, during which experts from around the world will be debating crucial social issues of the future. As a pioneer of electric mobility, smart will also be providing a free shuttle service in the centre of Austin between March 11 and 14 with a fleet of smart fortwo electric drive vehicles.

The comprehensive brand presence of Daimler AG showcases its diverse innovative strengths and provides creative impetus to help shape future mobility. “The South by Southwest provides a strong platform for open discussions with creative and very diverse people. The main question is how we as a society in the future would live together, work and be mobile. We are pleased to be able to contribute as a company in this environment as well”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Lufthansa FlyingLab: The digital conference is already on board

On March 9, 2017 the guests of the flight LH440 from Frankfurt to Houston in the “FlyingLab SXSW” will be already introduced into the topics of “South by Southwest” in Austin, Texas. On board of an Airbus A380, digital experts will give 15-minute presentations, ranging from the future, smart cities to the survival guide for the conference days. For Daimler AG, Alexander Mankowsky will be speaking as a futurologist about “The Journey Will Be the Destination – Again”.

The FlyingLab is opened by Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. In a video message, he complements the safety instructions on board and takes the passengers on a virtual journey into the future of mobility. The participants of the “FlyingLabs SXSW” receive the video livestream of the speakers including the presentation documents via WLAN on their smartphone, tablet or laptop. With their devices, the guests can enter the direct dialogue with the speakers during the presentations. You can find more information about the Lufthansa FlyingLab at: www.FlyingLab.aero/sxsw2017.

Relaxation and inspiration in the “house of smart”

In the “Waller Ballroom” on Austin’s famous 6th Street, the “house of smart” will offer visitors a relaxing yet electrifying atmosphere that is ideal for topping up on fresh new ideas and renewing energy levels. Following its opening on the evening of March 10, four theme days will be taking place from March 11 – 14: “Refreshing Insights”, “Creative Mindfulness”, “Urban Trends” and “Sustainable Future”. Over a total of 15 interactive sessions featuring presentations, live demos, virtual reality installations and workshops, experts from various fields are going to be discussing an extraordinary range of topics.

The theme day “Refreshing Insights” looks at the question of what progress will mean in the coming years. Can artificial intelligence become creative? Can wearables help to make use of the human brain’s full potential? Speakers will include Aleksandra Przegalinska from the MIT Sloan School of Management and Ed Newton-Rex, the founder and CEO of jukedeck.com, which develops systems that are capable of composing music on the basis of artificial intelligence. Besides this, there will also be an inspirational co-creating session offering “refreshing first-hand insights” into the topics of creativity, leadership and motivation, that will be hosted by Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart, and Austin-based CEO and head chef Sonya Coté from Eden East, Hillside Farmacy and Homegrown Revival Austin.

The “Creative Mindfulness” theme day revolves around the pace of life. Why is it so important to keep deliberately slowing down everyday life at a time when technology is advancing at breakneck speed? Renowned tech evangelist and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Guy Kawasaki will, for example, be explaining the art of influencing innovation and change. Illustrating his presentation with examples from Apple, Google and Facebook as well as startup companies, he will reveal the key tips and tricks when it comes to changing the world. In the 1980s Guy Kawasaki helped the Macintosh computer make its breakthrough. Lüder Fromm, Senior Head of Global Marketing & Sports Sponsorship at HUGO BOSS, will provide insight into how the premium fashion brand uses its creative potential and the power of contrasts to develop its top-class collections and exceptional, customer-oriented services. Another speaker on this theme day will be adventurer and photographer Cory Richards, who was named “National Geographic Adventurer of the Year” in 2012. He will be taking guests on a visual journey to the highest and lowest places on Earth.

The theme days “Urban Trends” and “Sustainable Future” deal with alternative lifestyles and with what responsibility means at a time when there is an almost limitless choice of paths to take in life. Looking at everything from our personal mobility to the world of work and our living situation, what can we do to live in a more worthwhile, more aware and more sustainable way? In his panel discussion, Dr. Nico Rose, Head of Corporate Employer Branding at Bertelsmann, will explain, for example, what sustainable personnel development means and which staffing concepts are the true driving forces of corporate success. Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch, the founders of Cabin Spacey, will also be among those speaking. Their company develops minimalist and resource-friendly mini apartments that can be constructed on unused rooftops, for example.

Workshops, talks and round-table discussions by or with Daimler experts such as Paul DeLong, CEO of car2go, Rasheq Zarif, Head of Business Innovation Mercedes-Benz North America, and Nat Parker, CEO of moovel North America, complete the programme of events in the “house of smart”. There will also be performances from electronic pop sensation Bishop Briggs as well as synthwave band S U R V I V E, who composed the hit soundtrack for the Netflix series “Stranger Things”.

As a pioneer of electric mobility, smart will also be providing a free shuttle service in the centre of Austin between March 11 and 14 with smart fortwo electric drive vehicles. smart is the only car manufacturer that will be offering its entire model range with both combustion engines and all-electric drive. All activities and details about the smart house can be found at: www.smart.com/houseofsmart

moovel – radically simplifying mobility in the city

The objective of the Daimler subsidiary moovel is to radically simplify urban mobility. It is working on a type of operating system for urban mobility, offering access to a range of very different mobility applications. The trend towards on-demand mobility and multi-modal mobility platforms is therefore at the centre of the activities being showcased by moovel during its first excursion to the technology conference in Austin.

To help visitors quickly find the best way from A to B during the conference, moovel North America is providing the moovel app, a mobile journey planner which offers precise real-time information on local public transport. The app can be downloaded free of charge from the international Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

The mobility brand will furthermore be inviting visitors to the technology conference to take part in the “Transportation Trivia” competition in the moovel shuttle, which will be out on the streets of Austin between March 10 and 13. Its current location can be tracked on moovel North America’s Twitter channel (‪@moovelUS‪ ). Anyone who tweets a photo of the moovel shuttle to: @moovelUS with the hashtag #moovelme can win prizes of up to 1,000 US dollars.

Debating the future of urban mobility

On the first day of this year’s festival, moovel will be taking part in two panel discussions: At 12:30 p.m. on March 10, Meg Merritt, Director of Business Operations and B2C, is talking at the Hotel Hilton Downtown on the topic of “Austin’s Best Transportation & Mobility Startups” as part of a mobility panel at the SXSW. Meanwhile, product manager Michael Naka will also be taking part in a panel on March 10. It takes place at 2:15 p.m. in the Omni Hotel and is entitled “Converge Culture: Consumer Experiences”.

In collaboration with Messe Frankfurt and ZEIT ONLINE, moovel is organising a “moovel breakfast” on March 12. This exclusive breakfast session will be attended by 40 specially selected experts from the automotive industry. The informal discussions will centre on the opportunities and challenges that digitisation presents for the future of mobility. The discussion will be led by ZEIT ONLINE editor Eike Kühl and Nat Parker, CEO of moovel North America.

On March 13 from 2:30 – 3:00 p.m., moovel North America CEO Nat Parker will be speaking on the topic of “Changing Landscape of Mobility and Daimler’s Approach” in the house of smart together with Paul DeLong, CEO of car2go North America, and Rasheq Zarif, Head of Business Development Mercedes-Benz Research & Development.

car2go: now, for the first time, with Mercedes-Benz vehicles too

Since 2010, car2go North America has been offering visitors to the conference in Austin smart fortwo cars as a stress-free and reasonably priced way to get to the panels, films or other programme events. This year car2go is continuing the tradition and has set up four handy rental stations called “car2go Drop Zones” in the heart of the event area. These stations act as a valet parking service, offering car2go members the advantage of ending their journey without having to search for a parking space. car2go members can simply drive their vehicle to the nearest Drop Zone and hand it over to a car2go employee, helping them to reach their destination more quickly.

This year, the smart fortwo cars in the car2go fleet in Austin are joined for the first time by Mercedes-Benz models too. car2go members can therefore drive to events either on their own or as part of a group at the wheel of a CLA or GLA. Visitors who register with car2go for the first time in Austin will receive a special promotional code providing benefits such as free registration: https://www.car2go.com/runr/#/en/US/registration/account-personal?pc=shareatx

In addition to the car sharing with car2go, SXSW attendees are also encouraged to attend a mobility panel discussion with speakers Paul DeLong, CEO of car2go North America, and Arwed Niestroj, Head of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. This SXSW panel discussion will take place between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. local time on Sunday March 12 and will be chaired by Aarian Marshall, reporter for WIRED magazine. For further information about this panel discussion, go to: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP65263

Further information about South by Southwest: http://www.sxsw.com/

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