Rockin’ Robotics at SXSW

2019-03-20 – Dematic’s Crystal Parrott steps out for the KION Group participating in a tech panel discussion at South by Southwest, the mega-festival in Austin, Texas

Tags of the article: #intelligent logistics #smart factory

Crystal Parrott, Vice President of the Robotics Center of Excellence at Dematic, recently had the opportunity to blaze a trail for the KION Group by becoming the Group’s first South by Southwest (SXSW) panelist, joining other industry experts to discuss the “Future of Robotics in Logistics”.

When you think of the huge American cultural festival, discussing the benefits of robotics in supply chains may not be the first topic you would expect to see on the 10-day agenda. With Austin now recognized as a hub for new technology, the addition of technology trends such as robotics and automation seems like a natural.

“SXSW is a very energizing venue as there are so many different focus areas; it is a really diverse audience. Our session was under the Entrepreneurship and Start-up track and it had a fairly commercial focus. The room was packed, the audience was extremely attentive and we had a great Q&A session,” says Parrott, adding, “It was very motivating to see the excitement in new technology and opportunities.

Most everyone understands why it is important to be involved in industry trade shows and conferences but an event associated with indie films and Hip Hop? Parrott answers that one easily.

“To be a leader in our industry, we need to constantly monitor not only the technological innovations in the logistics space, but also other sectors that may be able to be ported to our applications. This year’s buzz was around AI, autonomous mobility, virtual reality and blockchain. These are important areas impacting our industry and this event covers it in a much broader fashion,” explained Parrott.

Though this was the first time for the Group to be participating an event like SXSW, Parrott hopes it will not be the last, describing that many technology leaps come out of other industries and out of start-ups. Events such as SXSW allow access to a wide variety of companies and individuals trying to provide the next breakthrough in their respective technology sectors.

So how did the mega-festival compare to typical industry events?

“We had a line of people asking questions at the end so we definitely sparked their interest. It was unique to hear the different perspectives from each of our view points on how it flowed through the different organizations – that was the beauty of the panel as it represented the entire innovation chain.

While she is not ready to trade in her day job as a robotics expert for a career in alternative music or director of indie films, Crystal quickly says she would love to be involved in SXSW again.

“The networking and connections made are invaluable!”