And the Winner at SxSW is…

Unlike last year when location-based services Foursquare and Gowalla dominated the discourse coming out of SxSW, this year’s conference had way too many dimensions to declare a single company or technology as the clear winner. Some companies had great marketing and PR, but less than perfect applications. While others had mind-blowing apps, but PR and marketing that simply didn’t rise above the daily din.

Mobile group messaging, social media-fueled platforms that engage fans or raise money, and video-sharing/engagement platforms were well-represented. Mashable’s Adam Ostrow looked at a few of the SxSW 2011 “battles” [with infographics].

Nellymoser’s John Puterbaugh on PSFK Mobile Panel

Still, attendees couldn’t help but notice one subtle trend that emerged this year to envelope every aspect of this massive event.

I’m talking 2D barcodes (i.e., QR Codes, Microsoft Tag…) that link the physical world to mobile. My client John Puterbaugh, CEO of Nellymoser and a pioneer in the development of technology that seamlessly delivers rich content to mobile devices, summed it up when he said on his PSFK panel:

“2D barcodes codes are to mobile what the URL was to the Internet.”

If you don’t believe me (or John), here’s a collection of the images I captured at almost every turn during my time in Austin.

Austin Tagged

Tagged Foodspotters

Street Walkers Tagged

Free Download

Tagged “For a Good Time”
“For a Free Dinner”
A Tagged Chevy Cruze
Pole Tagged
What the…!

Mashable House Tagged
SxSW Press Room Tagged
Tagged Cup n Napkin
Special Offer
Tattoo tagged