I really enjoyed my short time at SXSW Interactive Festival this year. One of the things that helped me was their step to help people interested in SXSW to build their "own" calendar. Yes, they understood the people attending have a lot of offerings to consider and nobody wants to miss anything they really would like to see. The SXSW site showed the conference sessions and if you liked it you could add it to your SXSW calendar. This calendar could be accessed as an iCal, which means as you update the calendar on the site, or the calendar is changed by the SXSW folks, you calendar is updated. Being that it is iCal it is relatively easy to synch this to your mobile device.
Why is this important? It is not only a great step to help the people attending the Festival, but it builds a connection between the person and the SXSW site as well as a enables the person enjoyment of the Festival. Technology should help the person control what they would like to do and help them do it with out worry.
I remember my first SXSW in 2001, where they had a Palm Pilot that would beam you a packet including the conference sessions as well as food and other amenities. The application allowed you to add the SXSW sessions into your Palm calendar and restaurants into your address book. It was a great app, but you only got the application when you got there and you had to have a Palm device (luckily I did). This year's version greatly improved on this as it allows the person attending to build their own calendar and choose how they want the information to follow them. The person attending just added the information to their own Personal InfoCloud and the person consumed and reused the information as needed.
Brilliant and Bravo.