Reimagining Energy at SXSW

Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Circular Economy, Composites, Digital Manufacturing, Digital Twins, Flexible Hybrid Electronics

South by Southwest (SXSW) celebrates innovation and technology and provides a forum for creative thinkers to discuss what’s next and learn about the resources that can help them build the future. Over 300,000 people attend the annual conference and festival, and in 2024, the Manufacturing USA network had the opportunity to present its first session at the conference. 

Though SXSW has a broad audience, conference programming includes tracks and sessions about critical technologies directly related to the work of the institutes in the Manufacturing USA network. 2024 tracks included AI, Climate Change, Energy, Health & MedTech, Startups, Tech Industry, Transportation, and Workplace. Sessions in these tracks are often presented by a mix of industry, academia, and government organizations, offering diverse perspectives on topics closely aligned with the work of Manufacturing USA partners. 

Photo of Manufacturing USA SXSW panelists: Art Wall (NextFlex), Magdi Azer (REMADE), Olivia Morales (CESMII), Dale Brosius (IACMI)

The inaugural Manufacturing USA session, “Reimagining Energy Use with Digital Technologies,” featured speakers from four Manufacturing USA institutes: Magdi Azer (REMADE), Dale Brosius (IACMI), and Olivia Morales (CESMII), and moderator Art Wall (NextFlex). The session was selected via the SXSW Panel Picker, a rigorous submission process that includes voting by attendees. 

Leveraging the industrial sector, which represents 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, is critical to achieving the nation’s climate goals. In the session, speakers addressed how digital technologies can enable companies to reimagine manufacturing processes and products, resulting in reduced energy use, decreased emissions, and eliminated waste. They discussed creating “circular economy” product flows, increasing energy efficiency through smart manufacturing, and employing digital capabilities in new ways to enhance sustainability.

Manufacturing USA at SXSW 2024: Reimagining Energy Use with Digital Technologies
Manufacturing USA at SXSW 2024: Reimagining Energy Use with Digital Technologies

Even if you didn’t make it to Austin, you can still experience the session and benefit from the panelists’ knowledge.  You can explore a webpage with related resources or watch the full recording (above).  The session also enabled conversations outside the conference -- speakers Magdi Azer and Olivia Morales attended an “on the record” dinner with Axios chatting about circular economy principles.

The Manufacturing USA team appreciated the opportunity to share insights from the network’s programs and initiatives and engage with the SXSW community. After a successful first panel presentation, we continue to evaluate our approach and learn from our experience. We hope to see you again next year in Austin! 

Photo of the Manufacturing USA cohort at SXSW 2024