RealTime IT News

DEMO Promises Less Hype, More 'Realness'

Today marks the kick-off for a new DEMO conference, the closely watched, twice-annual showcase of new products and Web services that show director Chris Shipley says reflects a maturing industry.

"I think we're seeing a shift from the pomp and hype of Web 2.0, to the value of more social applications applied with more business models," she told InternetNews.com. "We're getting away from chest-beating, frothy stuff. There's a lot of realness here."

Among the emerging themes she said will be reflected in product debuts at the event are more services, like storage, moving to the cloud, and other solutions that help "essentially virtualize the datacenter."

Another theme will be companies reworking and reinventing traditional enterprise applications with sophisticated business intelligence features to be more appealing to small businesses.

"Now we're going to see these features be more affordable and accessible," Shipley said.

But there's no single theme to DEMO, which features a range of products spanning the consumer, small business and enterprise markets. Here's a brief sample:

Liaise is looking to help users get more out the systems they already use. "Our ideal was that there no change in work habits, no dependencies on other people or systems and that it be fast and easy to deploy," said Sidney Minassian, Liaise's co-founder and CEO.

Liaise's first implementation supports e-mail and is optimized specifically for Microsoft Outlook. Liaise automatically annotates and keeps track of action items as you type emails to others, and then captures them into easy-to-organize and easy-to-print reports. Also, it doesn’t matter whether the e-mail recipient is using Liaise or not. Responses to e-mails sent via Liaise from any e-mail platform such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail, or even from mobile email systems such as Blackberry and iPhone, are automatically tracked by Liaise.

Though Minassian says Liaise can be a useful tool to individual users, its value increases for a group. For example, when used by a team, Liaise Web Services tracks any change made to an assignment or task and automatically shares it with every team member, without the need to send an additional email.

At the other end of the product spectrum is HP SkyRoom. The computer giant plans to debut what it says is affordable HD-quality videoconferencing software with full collaboration for instant face-to-face meetings. While the videoconference space is already crowded, HP claims SkyRoom is the only affordable videoconferencing tool to offer live collaboration for up to four people using rich media content over standard business networks.

A company called 80legs says its making the process of crawling and processing Web content on-demand more accessible. The company's distributed system puts some 50,000 computers "at your fingertips" letting users crawl and process up to 2 billion pages per day at a cost of $2 per million pages.

And then there's TotalTrainer. This on-demand personalized training and nutrition platform is designed to let gyms and health clubs optimize fitness results to achieve their goals of increased revenue, retention and member satisfaction. The systems' training tools offers over 2 million meal options, recipes, items from over 70 restaurants, workouts, video instruction, interactive workout logs and graphical dashboards that can be delivered via iPhone or smartphone Web browser.

Shipley said she thinks TotalTrainer will appeal to gym customers who can't afford a personal trainer, but are looking to get more from their gym membership.

DEMO runs through Wednesday of this week and InternetNews.com will have further reports from the event.