Demo has always been like a great Boston Pops concert; brilliant solos, stirring melodies with an underlying percussive beat.
The rhythm of Demofall 09 has been supplied jointly by the its technology/product demonstrators and its audience, 575 of which paid up attendance or demonstrators’ fees to see Demofall 09’s technological symphony.
The show kicked off with several powerful products; a new conferencing application from Industry pioneer Hewlett Packard intended for work groups and corporations, and an mapping application that’s analogous to Google Maps for Interior.
HP SkyRoom, which was developed by HP Labs expands and redefines the video conferencing category. It offers real time video conferencing in ultra high definition that applies equally to video feeds and shared workgroup files.
SkyRoom establishes a new standard for quality imaging, and if you follow the news of the space program, you’ve already seen what it can do, since it was a big part of NASA’s high resolution imaging transfer process from its Mars rovers.
HP’s video conferencing application has been optimized for high performance desktops such as those made by Hewlett Packard, Dell and Lenovo. Initially SkyRoom will ship standard on HP’s high end desktop and portable computers and will ship as a “trial” product with several forthcoming premium workstations and notebooks.
SkyRoom is available beginning this week from Hewlett Packard and costs $149.00.
Micello, one of the stand outs from the first morning’s session is one of those products that generate true “Aha!” moments. If you’ve ever become frustrated searching for that special shop in a sprawling megamall, you’ll appreciate Micello, which can be thought of as Google Maps for interior spaces.
Micello says the company plans to roll out about 10 maps of high traffic locations (shopping malls, sports arenas and airports) per week.
Micello’s maps are based on public street maps such as those from Google and other entities and because they are user extensible can be annotated with unique Metadata or notes.
When I first saw Micello, I asked why Disney or any other recreation destination wouldn’t want to provide Micelle maps of their theme parks in California, Florida or other parts of the world?
Micello is exactly the sort of technology that can take geo mapping to its next level and which extends an existing technology category.
Waze inc. was another company at Demofall 09 with mapping technology. As someone spends a lot of time on freeways cursing delays that threaten to make me late for various appointments, I like Waze because it gives me access to road and route conditions from other drivers headed the same general direction as I am.
Waze reminds me a lot of an earlier turn by turn navigation system called “Way to Go”. Like many of the demonstrator’s at the event Waze showed its product on an Apple iPhone.
Waze does a great job of providing turn-by-turn directions and I really like it because the information is crowd-sourced.
Not all Demo presenters use the show to launch products that are directly aimed at consumers. Over the years some of the most successful Demo technology launches have been products have been infrastructure plays. One of the best examples of this at Demofall 09 was by an east coat startup called EMO which showed off a zero foot print speaker technology that I believe should find a home in all televisions, all-in-one computers and notebooks that are marketed to users who value a first rate entertainment experience.
Emo’s transparent speakers, free entertainment consoles, desks and other storage spaces of standalone speakers and deliver an audio experience that’s equivalent, if not better, than the high end speakers I use with my computers and televisions.
Emo enhances not just the audio experience of consumer electronics, it also boosts visual entertainment media by providing an audio experience where the words a character or other speaker says, appear to come from the subjects mouth.
The more I looked at Emo’s on stage and in the demonstrators’ hall demonstrations, the more convinced I am that in the future there will be notebooks and all-in-ones that incorporate Emo’s Transparent Edge speaker technologies and all the others. It’s just that simple an equation for this demonstrator.
Eye Hand was a third infrastructure play aimed at consumers. The market for this product however includes: cable networks, entertainment companies and technology savvy movie or television producers. Eye hand’s demonstration captivated the Demofall 09 audience because it turns the largely passive television viewing experience into an interactive experience using nothing more complicated than a smart phone.
A part of Eye Hand’s technology resides on smart phones, the consumer’s cable box and at the cable head end. One of the ways it can be used is to snap a picture of a tv screen. Since most people take pictures of what interests them, Eye Hand’s software assigns five “hot spots” to each picture and returns weighted information relating to each of the five hot spots to users’ smart phones.
Eye hand is a nifty technology that has potential markets with cable operators, large consumer goods manufacturers, cell phone networks, advertising agencies and consortia, broadcast entertainment, news or other networks as well as related producers who work with or for such organizations.
Eye Hand has a controllable successful future, providing they can attract the business development specialists who can sell to the entities needed to bring this product to consumers.
Other companies have tried to launch less capable technological solutions for turning passive entertainment in to an interactive experience and failed either because they either lacked gravitas to sell the idea to the correct entity, or because they lacked the fundamental experience in bringing new technology to market.
While I was working As a Demo event producers I invited two companies to introduce nascent technologies that attempted what Eye hand is trying. In the end, both companies failed because they didn’t know how to sell to cable and broadcast networks, and because usable smart phones were still uncommon.
Thiss startup could go on to become the “Little Engine That Could be the little engine that can in this category and I hope they quickly can show their technology to AT&T, Fox, CBS and The History Channel. I also hope someone from Apple, Nokia, or Google looks at this start-up since it could help to sell their smartphones.
Demo shows have always been snapshots of the entrepreneurial landscape at a specific moment in time. I was impressed by the fact that almost 600 people were in attendance, there were numerous VC cruising the demonstartors pavilion talking to start ups and entrepreneurs are as hopeful as ever, but much more realistic in their expectations than I’ve ever seen in my 35-year career as journalist and finally as producer of Demo event producer.—Jim Forbes on 09/23/2008.