Blogging from Demo 2004, Day 2:
802.11a ROCKS, I have a 54mbs wireless connection that is stable, while the 11b guys are up and down on a much slower link, and because not many people use 11a I get to hog the connection.
One of the really cool things about coming to Demo is that you see a wide range of devices, everything from supersmall laptops, to tablets, to phone-like devices.
Demo@Home is all about consumer technologies for the connected home.
- Valence demonstrated their new battery technology for portable devices that they claim is safer. The demo clips showed things blowing up... hehehe
- Akimbo Systems has the slickest intro presentation hands down. The product they are launching is a service that enables you to send high quality video over a standard broadband connection. It's Tivo-like in the sense that is caches downloaded video. Featuring 20,000 hours of video-on-demand when they launch, this will be interesting to see how well they do. The only complaint that I have is that it's YASB (Yet Another Settop Box). The interface looks like Tivo. I noticed that the CEO quickly skipped over a channel in their list of providers while demo'ing it, Danni's Hard Drive... I looked it up on Google, it's a porn channel... purrrr. Rafe Needleman wrote about Akimbo in his AlwaysOn column this week, http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=2831_0_8_0_C
- Molino is another consumer service that allows consumers to store, catalog and play video and music, and they said it would do photos as well. It strikes me that these devices are inching toward full blown media servers that you can build today, just with better software. IMO, the Akimbo device was kewl, the Molino software is krazy kewl.
- BravoBrava is up next, I saw this company last year and thought it was amazing. They have technology that enables routing of rich media throughout the home via wireless, including the ubiquitous cell phone cameras. They also offer live tv on pda's... basically, this stuff connects everything, everywhere in your home. This stuff is pretty damn neat, I can't even do it justice in trying to explain it, go to their website and learn more.
- Homestead is focusing on digital image sharing through their Photosite Service. To be quite honest, I didn't really get it, sure they got an editor, compression engine, sharing, and so on... but I just didn't see anything that expanded the envelope. Also, and perhaps most importantly, it's totally focused on a personal computer... which is the last place I want to look at digital photos. One more point, they have a photo inbox that anyone can send photos to and have them published on the users site... get ready for the emergence of photo spam.
- It's the Content demo'ed their Sharalot service. Again, I'm not really gettin it, they have an inbox on your desktop that you drop photos into and it takes over the heavy lifting of sharing them. When the hell is M$oft going to do this with they My Photos folder?
- Roxio starts out by saying the digital media experience on the PC is broken and their Easy Media Creator 7 is the fix. It's actually a nice piece of software, I'm going to give it a try. But make no mistake, this is a classic application, as opposed to an application service... it appeals to someone like me, but wouldn't work for my mom, there's just too much going on.
It's Game Time Baby!
online gaming is huge with over 90 million users worldwide. I've heard that EA and a couple consumer goods companies are looking to tap into online gaming networks to "touch" consumers directly.
- Ultimate Arena is showing their new XFire service, which is an IM client that let's you find your friends and connect you to common game servers, that way you play against your friends not just anyone. XFire launched a week ago with 100 users, on Sunday they logged 60,000!
- Convoq has a video/IM/doc sharing client that enables people to "meet" spontaneously.
- Sightspeed has some video technology for delivering 30fps video perfectly synchronized. Quite honestly, it was stunning. However, I scanned the wireless network and noticed that Sightspeed is using the 54mbs datalink, not the lower bandwidth 11mbs link that would be more common in most environments. I'm going to ask them about this in the demo pavillion.
- GoToMeeting is "so easy to use you will use it everyday". It tried to connect to their server, and to join their online meeting, but I couldn't load their server... guess it's not that easy.
- Voltage Security had a cool demo showing how you could sniff out an IM connection, even through supposedly secure connections. The only problem I had with it is that they spent too much time setting up the demo scenario, I would have liked to get more product/tech info in the pitch. But then again, that's what the Demo Pavillion is for...
- ViewCentral is hitting another issue with instant collaboration, the fact that it not's easily archivable for future replay. It's integrated in the major online conference services so you may be using it and not know it. The demo was not very good, you just can't do a feature demo at this conference because of the time constraints, you have to hit it hard and fast with a good story.
- I'm kinda done with these collaboration companies, they really aren't raising the bar on online collaboration, just doing better online meetings... which is about as close to a plague I can imagine! Just what we need, more meetings! If you really want to enable innovative online collaboration, where is the integration with email, mobile devices, KM apps, portals, wikis and blogs!
- Dude, I don't need another !@##$@*^ search engine, I need a tool that makes sense of search results, AND helps navigate the nuances of smart searches. Judging by the companies that are presenting, I think the vendors also figuring this out becuase wasn't one search engine demo'ing here, just plugins for search engines. The other side of that sword is that you are dependent on the search vendors for your market, and praying they don't come out with better visualizations and organization tools. I think I'd be pretty hard pressed to make an investment case for one of these companies.
- BIGontheNet is a Singapore-based company offering a meta search engine, a tool that rides on top of popular search tools to organize search results. It looked okay, but it looked like a lot of stuff that preceded it.
- Fractal Edge has a visualization product that looks a lot like the hyperbolic tree stuff that Xerox developed years ago, and spun out to Inxight Software. This stuff is really cool, but despite the academic reasons for why it works, this kind of visualization juist hasn't caught on in the market because, IMO, it's just not an intuitive fit for the way we have become adapted to PC technology.
- Groxis is back after launching the concept at Demo last year. I tried to hook up with these guys after meeting them last year, but I got the feeling they didn't see much value in working with SAP, guess we weren't kewl back then, but hey I got a blog now so things are looking up. I think that the last year didn't result in the Google-like success they expected and now they are back with a re-engineered product.... still seem pretty cocky to me. At $49 a copy I just don't see these things happening in the market.
- okay, Total Immersion gets the award for the best demo, they did some stuff merging 3d virtual elements with reality that was mind blowing. Aside from the eye candy technology, I could envision huge value creation for their customers. Incredibly kewl stuff. Kind of felt sorry for the company demo'ing after them.
- Iteration Software has a pretty interesting realtime analytics suite; this is a hot area and no vendor has staked a leadership postion in the market. The demo is kind of cartoon'ish, that's not necessarily a bad thing but I think it misses a big value point. In my mind, having a realtime dashboard is not so important as hitting the exception points as they happen and actually doing something about them based on some thesis generated by the analytics and rules engine. I like this stuff a lot, but the problem with demo'ing the really deep stuff is that you can't easily see it at work and, for the most part, geeks like us (Demo audience) have very little appreciation for the issues that operations people face within manufacturing environments. At it's best, software like this should be dealing with issues in the absence of human intervention, but we're a long way from that point. I liked this demo, neat company.
That's it for me, I'm outa here. Would like to stick around for Blue Vector but I gotta catch a flight.