By: Amy Wohl (email@example.com)
I meant to do this much earlier, but my hard-luck Sony Vaio decided to turn itself off during the first luncheon break at DEMOFall07, leaving me in the lurch.
It made it easier to watch the demos, but much harder to tell you what I thought about them.
On the other hand, you get the benefit of my more leisurely pondering of what went on at DEMO this time. I had lots of opportunities to ask other bloggers and journalists (it's hard to tell the difference these days)what they thought, too. There was a fair amount of agreement.
(1) Lots of neat products. The start-up business is not dead.
(2) But most of what we saw at DEMOFall07 was not Big Breakthroughs (products that will change the world -- or at least how you work in it), but rather nice incremental changes and upgrades.
(3) Therefore, not surprisingly, there were a number of DEMO demonstrators who were not start-ups, but either companies who had been around awhile before they hit DEMO gold with a particular product (or product version), or existing companies and products, bac with a revision of an already
(successful) product. These products weren't necessarily less useful or even less interesting, they just weren't as "new."
What did I like?
I loved the language learning via a community product LiveMocha
(www.livemocha.com) . You can go there right now (I did) and sign up to learn French, German, Spanish, English, Hindi, or Chinese. I'm brushing up my French for a trip later this month.
I was intrigued by Sway's Shoutlet, (www.shoutlet.com), a SaaS application for managing marketing campaigns, from message creation to running and monitoring (and reporting back the results). It covers all the social media distribution methods and distributes through 200 social communities. We'd vote it an up-and-comer.
The centerpiece of the conference -- and clearly the most innovation of all
-- was a panel moderated by Chris Shipley and features three young inventor/entrepreneurs, all doing work in the scientific/medical field, from on-line research collaboration, to smart surgical equipment, to speech recognition technology that reads non-vocalized speech (it's reading the brain's preparation for speaking). Lots of kidding around about reading thoughts. Chris did a masterful job of bringing out the best in these young scientists (all under 30) and getting them to talk about their ambitions and dreams. We were awed.
Vello, (www.vello.com), a conference call that collects the conferees (you don't have to call in, it calls you), seemed like a great alternative to the current system, where I'm always waiting for everyone to get on line.
CashView (www.cashview.com) is payables, receivables, and cash flow for small businesses. Simple, straightforward, easy. There is lots of competition for pieces of this, but none of it works quite this simply, perhaps because the company grows out of folks who came out of Intuit.
Too many more to mention -- 69 in all. Lots of security, consumer applications, new search, mobile, etc. etc. And more coming when DEMO meets again in January.