Email and Contact list applications Shine at Demo 2009
Asurion and the 21st Century Address Book
The one product that held my attention the longest at Demo 2009 was Asurion, which was running on an Android operating system smart phone from T-Mobile. Asurion is a 21st Century intelligent address book. It expands the capabilities and usefulness of a smart phones contacts lists by quickly showing me the various ways I can connect with those people or institutions, and providing its users with the most recent threads and points of contact I’ve had with such people as well as the nature of the contact. One of the specific features I love about Asurion is that when you get an incoming call, it displays the last several messages you’ve had with the contact as you answer or place the call. It’s a great way to stay on topic with a contact, or to expand your conversations. It’s a handy feature if you’re involved with a second or third party on personal or small group projects or transactions. Say for example I get a call from someone who I’ve discussed an idea for a trip up to the Gold mining districts in Northern California.
Asurion also lets me add and control the features I want to include in my phone’s address book, and supports dynamic updating of content and mini applications among user-defined groups.
I’ve been openly critical of start-ups who pin their hopes on software for smartphones, because not very many have ties to cell network providers. But in this area Asurion is extremely different. This start-up is an independent business unit with the insurance company that provides cell phone owners with replacement handsets. Asurion not only has its roots intertwined deeply among cell network carriers, it also has a management team that’s successfully sold products ands service to those networks. But the frosting on Asurion’s cake is that its open architecture product seems ideally suited for business CRM applications, which makes leads me to believe that it’s better situated for the future than most other start-ups I’ve seen in this space in many years.
Gwabbit Supercharges Outlook
Technicopia’s Gwabbit, was another transformational application for contact address books really stood out at Demo 2009. Based on Semantic search technologies, Gwabbit scans inward bound Outlook messages, reducing adding contact information from a multi-step process to a single mouse click. Gwabbit’s technology is sensational and overcomes my biggest complaint with Outlook—the tedious copying of information for contacts into the appropriate fields of an individual contact record.
Gwabbit is simple to use and proves entrepreneurs can find successful niches that leverage Microsoft’s huge applications installed base. At $19.95, from Gwabbit.com, this new application is affordably priced and has the type of instant appeal that marks virtually all successful first generation add-ons for mainstream applications. My first reaction to Gwabbit was that I was l ooking at a 21st Century incarnation of Products such as Borland’s Sidekick ant Symantec/Turner Hall’s wildly popular line of ad-ins for Lotus 123. I still feel that way about Gwabbit. It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that Technicopia could have a short path to an acquisition by Microsoft exit strategy
Cc: Betty Empowers your Email
Cc: Betty, is also on my list of favorite applications and technologies from this year’s Demo. It significantly enhances the capabilities of email by letting its users, organize components of incoming emails according to user definable categories. Like Gmail, Cc: Betty can translate physical addresses into maps but layers on capabilities such as grouping photos contained in emails and transforming them into slide shows with little user intervention. It also supports threaded discussions and sorts replies. I like the idea of an email add-on that helps me and people I may work with make better use of emails associated with projects. Cc: Betty is a product I’ll probably be using in the coming months. I like this program because it’s ease of use belies its power. On top of that cc: Betty is fun to use.
There are a couple of other Demo companies whose technologies I plan to write about in the coming week. Despite an economy that took its toll on the show, I came away from Demo 2009, believing I had seen the best of what’s to come and that the future isn’t all gloom and doom—Jim Forbes 03/05/2007
Disclosure: I am a retired producer of Demo events and wrote and edited Demo’s printed and electronic newsletters.