DEMO 07 kicked off today with a series of interesting of product presentations. A complete rundown of the morning session appears below in the form of my real-time notes as the demos were presented, along with my initial impression.
A non-profit project of the Kauffman Foundation that promotes entrepreneurship, this site aims to provide a way to find innovations available for licensing from universities. Allows searching and browsing by tags. Information touted as being clear, concise, and understandable for non-PhD’s. Intellectual property is directly downloadable. How does the data get there? Direct links have been created with existing systems, but they are also working with universities to rewrite descriptions to be more accessible to lay people.
My Take: This one really depends on how good the data is. It will take more time to figure out how it stacks up today and obviously it will be important to see how well-received it is by universities so that they remain interested in populating it in an understandable fashion.
ZINK (“Zero Ink”) enables pictures to be printed without any ink. Built-in rechargeable battery in a handheld portable printer. Specialized paper is what permits the technology to work. Dye crystals in the paper are activated by the printer. Photos come out completely dry and “ready to enjoy.” Heavily focused on mobile printing. One of the early products will be a digital camera/printer in one device — sort of a Polaroid instant camera for the 21st century. From a distance, the quality appears to be pretty good. Obviously, we’ll need to have a close-up look at it to see how quality stands up. In addition, price points will be interesting.
My Take: Really cool with solid business prospects. This is an early favorite for my Best of Demo list.
Provides warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping services for small businesses. Accounts start at $30 per month. Paypal compatible. Provides better logistics for small retailers. Also provides global reach.
My Take: May have potential. Retail shipping logistics are far from an area of expertise for me.
Speed dial a number on your cell phone and leave a message for yourself to remind you about something. System emails you to remind you that you have a message. Use voice prompts to attach meta data to the messages like due dates. Will also transcribe your messages and email them to you.
My Take: Sounds like a marketing wrapper on a voice mail service, with a few added bells and whistles.
A software as a service offering that seeks to help to manage software development projects. Integrates with leading development tools like Visual Studio, emacs, etc. Logs use of various tools by developers. Shows which files were accessed when and what was done with them. Can view by developer or aggregate by team. Pitched as a way to make sure that developers are aligned with business objectives. Claims to offer insight into whether IM/email helps or hurts.
My Take: A very big brotherish application that I imagine managers would love and developers would loathe. Could prove useful in many environments if it is as easy to use as it appears, and developers might actually find it helpful to them over the long term (spoken like a manager, not a developer, I know).
Video messaging service. Works in any browser with no client software to install. Uses RSS feeds to expand distribution options beyond emailing the video clip. Integrates with iTunes and social networks like MySpace through use of a widget. Compatible with mobile devices like Blackberry or Treo in an attempt to break into the business space. Uses Adobe Flash.
My Take: Does seem simple to use. Could prove popular with bloggers and teens. More skeptical about business environment adoption.
Seeks to automate proposal generation. Creates a password protected web-based document that can be negotiated online between vendor and prospect. Allows multimedia or other docs to be embedded. Breaks the information out by category.
My Take: Could work for interactions between two high-tech organizations. Probably ahead of its time for most sectors, however.
Most folks think of me as a tech geek, but this one flew right over my head with lots of jargon about silicon, thin clients, virtualized pc’s, hardware and software encoding and decoding, etc.
My Take: This appears to have real potential for apps that could benefit from being available on- or offline. Feels a bit like a more accessible alternative to Java apps. Another one likely to make my Best of Demo list.
Desktop sales/CRM app with online features. Framed as a cross between Salesforce.com and ACT! Demo focused heavily on list management, mail merge, etc. Looks simple and easy to use.
My Take: This feels like a crowded space and it may be difficult for this product to break out. They need to do a better job of communicating their unique value proposition and driving that point home.
Steganography: encrypting messages in photographs. That’s what Ceelox is all about. You email someone a picture and some message or data is included in the photo that can later be decrypted by the recipient. Examples touted include bank statements, medical records, or advertising offers/games. Using the Scram service, you create the image online and then email it using Outlook or any other email client. Recipient saves and opens the attachment. Also works with IM. Images can also be posted online publicly.
My Take: They tout it as being great for advertisers, though I suspect it may also appear to a less savory element. The question is which becomes more prevalent?
Widget to display RSS feeds securely. Also allows secure tagging through existing apps like Delicious.
My Take: I didn’t get enough out of this demo to truly assess it.
Norton Identity Client integrates with the browser to learn about web sites and online sellers. Also has tools to protect identity during online transactions. Integrates with existing identity solutions like Yahoo and OpenID. Flags sites as those who use their email lists for spam.
My Take: This is obviously a major player and no doubt will sell a lot of this produc
t. Online security i
s a huge concern among consumers, but at some point the pendulum may swing so far that there are too many tools to protect yourself online. Even the major vendors have so many products that it is often hard to figure out what to use if you are a typical consumer.
Offers independent films online in “better than DVD” quality. Seeking to monetize the long tail of film. Augments the movies themselves with community tools. Appears that you have to watch on your PC only and that is a streaming only offering. Permits in movie commentary and discussion. $1.99 to rent and $4.99 to buy.
My Take: An innovative idea, but this will certainly test Chris Anderson’s Long Tail argument. The question is how much cumulative audience is there for these types of films? And will folks who are into cinema enough to enjoy independent films want to watch on their computers rather than their TV’s?
Real-time integration of of 3D graphics into live video. The demo started slow as they weren’t able to get the right video up on the projector, but once the show producers sorted that one out, lots of cool stuff could be seen. Video games are apparently a key target for this one.
My Take: Definitely cool stuff. These guys will probably win a DemoGod award tomorrow night from Chris Shipley, and will also be likely to make my own Best of Demo list.