Live from X|Media|Lab Sydney – Michael Naimark @Naimark, Helen Chen @cmodabeijing, Rajiv Prakash @rajivprakash & Bonnie Shaw @bon_zai #XMediaLab

The second session at X|Media|Lab Sydney kicked off with a presentation from digital researcher and artist Michael Naimark (@naimark), who took the audience through three projects that he is working on. The first relates to live web streaming, and the idea of instantly matching content to viewers. Hence, takes the idea of live mediated simultaneity where operators can communicate and coordinate streams, allowing potentially hundreds of streams to be aggregated. His second project, Viewfinder, looks at spatial seamlessness, starting with a project that emulated Google Maps with Street View but 30 years earlier. His idea is that aligning content within context is critical to the appreciation of that image, such as how images can be fed into Google Earth. His third project examines the statistical similarity between different regions of the world, such as that between Africa and Georgia, as well as other bizarre cultural correlations, and the work of Alan Lomax and his Global Jukebox.

The second speaker of the session was Helen Chen, founder and CEO of China’s Museum of Digital Arts (@cmodabeijing). which is China’s first museum for digital art, which opened in December 2011. She discussed how digital consumption in China is booming, and asked the question of whether China can make the transition from its manufacturing economy to one more focus on digital content. She detailed a number of projects, including a 3D printing project. The museum’s aim is to become an exchange platform between digital creative artists.

The third speaker of the session was entrepreneur Rajiv Prakash (@rajivprakash) who discussed the start-up scene in India. He talked about aspiration, and the belief that Indians have that what they are born with is not what they must live with. The entrepreneur is India’s new role model, which has been reflected in successful Bollywood movies, and start-ups are emerging across a diverse set of sectors – and now contribute US$140 billion, or 15 percent, of total marketing capitalisation in India. Domestic consumption in India will grow by US$1 trillion over the next 10 years, which will double India’s current GDP. A lot of this growth is likely to be digitally mediated. He also talked about the model of frugal innovation, known as Jugaad innovation, where the entrepreneur starts with extreme constraints such as limited inputs and the need to work with a low-wealth customer base. It was this thinking that led to the creation of the Tata Nano car, which costs less than US$2000. Start-ups to emerge from India include Slideshare, inMobi and Zoho. Rajiv also talked about how many of the start-ups in India are social in nature, and designed to tackle India’s 40 per cent poverty rate. Developing markets can become laboratories for product innovation and export.

The final speaker before lunch was Bonnie Shaw, serial social innovator from iStrategyLabs in Washington DC. Shaw talked about collaborative applications such as Feastly, and also about the impact of putting computing power into our hands through smartphones. She discussed some of her company’s projects, including the Honest Cities campaign which melded online and offline interactions. Its Grandstand platform transforms online activities into offline interactions.