It wasn't a trending topic in Atlanta last week for nothing. Last Thursday Engauge held #DIGDay11 here at our Atlanta office. It was the second year they've held such an event and my first time in attendance. The invite-only event hosted speakers and representatives from startups like Movl, Yobongo, Scoutmob and even representatives from Facebook, Google and Hootsuite. It was a day of learning and discussion of what trends in emerging technology to keep an eye on and what some of our tech startup guests were bringing to the table in 2011. The three main emerging trends thrown in the mix involved mobile, augmented reality and television.

Yes, television.

The first session involved a panel discussing the web's impact on the future of TV...and how bright that future actually is. Remember when the internet and social media was supposed to kill TV as we know it? Turns out that quite the opposite has happened with television being more relevant than ever. 75% of TV viewers surf the web while watching their favorite shows simultaneously. It only makes sense to marry the two right?

While larger companies have made some strides in trying to make web-based televisions, the startups represented in the DIG Day television panel brought newer ideas to the table on how to leverage TV to make it more social, marketer friendly and potentially improve loyalty. Watch Party, one of the startups represented, really caught my eye in regards to their incentives layer to television. Their concept revolved around people attending television shows and having a real-time discussion on what's going on in that particular episode. It was a much more targeted version of what already happens on Twitter or Facebook. The incentives could come into play with advertisers or shows rewarding fans for attending the shows and participating in discussions. This layer, in my eyes, had some interesting plays into building loyalty into simply watching a television show.

Augmented Reality

The whole week at our office actually had a lot of AR wrapped up in it. @patrickbrandt led a lunch and learn at the office the previous Friday on some fundamentals of AR and then turned around and hosted a meetup the following Tuesday, inviting the augmented reality research team from Georgia Tech over to discuss the possibilities of what's coming. @tomerific hosted one of our technology demo stations during DIG Day, even showing off a location based AR iPad app. The app allowed the user to point to a location with the camera and see a label appear on the screen of what you were looking at. The 360 panoramic view our office has of the city really allowed the app to really show off.

Mashable reported the release of a 3D AR app on LG phones today, so look for this term to infiltrate the emerging tech conversation more frequently as time goes on.

Mobile

Along with a great panel discussion about new mobile startups with representatives from @Scoutmob, @PlacePunch and @yobongo, our own @richardpaulguy and @carlapaschke led a mobile tech demo station at DIG Day talking about the direction mobile is going and how it has infiltrated all parts of the world. Richard even pointed out how third world country residents will struggle to have basic necessities but still have access to mobile technology. He laid out all sorts of mobile devices including iPads, Blackberry's new Playbook, Android and iPhones, Droid tablets and even (gasp) a Windows 7 phone.

Believe it or not, the Windows 7 phone is pretty cool. Self-proclaimed Apple fanboy@jeffhilimire blogged about it at one point but Richard went on to explain how Microsoft tried to tackle issues people have with both iPhones and Androids and meet consumers in the middle with their product. He explained how its late launch was definitely intentional. In addition to showing off devices, the mobile team engaged attendees in a digital jam session, using the musical instrument capabilities on different iPad devices and having attendees compose and perform different songs.

Even more stuff I left out

Much more info, panels and learning went on that I failed to mention in the above with significant contributions from Engauge folks on the success of the event (and I know I'd miss someone if I even began to try). There will eventually be more detailed content coming out (video, blogs, pictures etc) coming out soon from better sources than this blog. I'll update this post as those things begin to appear.

What are your thoughts on what to look out for in technology? Do you all have any experience with the above mentioned startup companies?

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