Tech Rules at SXSW 2012

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AUSTIN, Texas (KTLA) -- It started as a music festival nearly 20 years ago, today the South By Southwest (SXSW) conferences are synonymous with technology and entertainment.

For nearly 19 years now the tech world has been descending in Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive; a week filled with promotion, discovery and a celebration of all things tech.

Offering panels on every tech topic you can think of, SXSW attracts a wide range of attendees. People come from more than 60 countries to gain insight during the dozens of panel discussions held throughout the week. Topics range from the hottest industry trends to what's next.

"Business people, investors and everything, it's just a great place to connect with new people," one attendee said.

There is ample opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch ideas to financial and celebrity endorsers during the interactive networking session between March 9 to March 13.

"It's a site where... people come to collaborate together, talk and create," said Forest Whitaker, one of several celebrities attending SXSW to promote side projects. Whitaker was there to highlight his start-up, JuntoBox Films. Adding to the welcomed frenzy, hundreds of companies big and small, make it out to the event hoping to generate buzz for their brands.

"Everyone comes to see what's new and what's fresh," said Mary Nurse from San Francisco, Calif. "But the town is [also] really fun and kind of cool and hip so I think it's a perfect marriage."

It's not all business at SXSW. Along the way, there is a healthy supply of music, beer and, this being Texas, plenty of BBQ to go around.

This is the conference that made Twitter and Foursquare famous. And this year hyper-local apps that connect users with others nearby are the buzz.

We'll keep you updated on what new apps may be making their way into your phones.

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