DEMO: Mobile, Video and Social Take Center Stage

SAN DIEGO, Calif — Plenty of new products kicked off the first day of DEMO here Tuesday. But very little of it can legitimately be called new technology, rather it seems to represent more commendable advances for what we’re already using.

And judging from what has appeared so far, what we’re using most must be mobile to keep our attention.

Startup Micello claims to put “the mind of a building in the palm of your hand.” By bringing Google Maps to the campus, shopping mall and individual building level, Micello would seem to meet a real need for mobile professionals, students, consumers and travelers.

At the moment, Micello is a stand-alone smart phone application that lets you drill down into a location to a previously unknown scale.

Looking for the nearest restroom in an unfamiliar airport or convention center? Fire up Micello’s application, do a quick search and hightail it on over there. Want to get a quick overview of where to shop for shoes in an unfamiliar shopping mall? Simply search “shoes” on a Micello map, and you’ll see where each shoe store is, how to get to each one and even what sales or discounts are currently available.

That’s the revenue model, of course; by charging businesses to list draw-them-in details, Micello can start collecting cash the moment a new map comes online.

Micello said it’s currently adding 10 maps per day, but if they get the backing they’re fishing for here at DEMOfall, they hope to bump that up to 100 per day in short order.

H3>More help for the Twitterverse

Add a new player to the list of feature-rich Twitter clients such as TweetDeck and Seesmic. Digsby, a popular universal social media client from dotSyntax in Rochester, NY, initially went overboard in the opposite direction, offering few Twitter features in its everything-in-one-place client.

But with Tuesday’s debut of a plethora of new Twitter features, Digsby may yet rise to the top of the Twitter client pile. Among them are a single-column view that takes up a fraction of the screen real estate required by other clients, the ability to filter the least-important tweets out of your overall timeline to clean up Twitter noise, automated photo tweets whenever you copy and paste a picture into Digsby, a chronological view that shows you oldest tweets first, and the ability both to reply and retweet from within a pop-up notification box.

That last may prove the most compelling reason to switch clients of all. Rather than being an all-consuming time-sink, Twitter-as-IM allows users to participate in the tweet stream without interrupting other (likely more important) on-screen work.

Video monitoring rapidly has become a $10 billion marketplace, and Internet protocol digital video monitoring fast is becoming a dominant player in the market. Just try setting a system up yourself, though; Internet-connected video monitoring systems have earned their reputation for being complicated, expensive and a pain to manage.

Enter the Video Intelligence-as-a-Service (VIAAS) system from Third Iris in Campbell, Calif. Not only is the $250 camera a snap to set up — the DEMOfall on-stage demonstrator did it in about 90 seconds — but the $30 per month cloud-based service means never having to give a second thought to storage, back-up or even video analysis concerns.

By moving the analytics, or the fundamental “intelligence,” of the video system into the cloud, Third Iris says it’s able to create entry costs less than 25 percent those of on-premise systems with equal capabilities.

One early user is Family Medicine Associates in San Jose, where practice manager Melissa Pfluger praised the system’s simplicity. “I can easily call up any particular date and time via the user interface without having to filter through hours of video,” she says.

Next page: Fundamentally new speaker technology

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Audiophiles finally have something to smile about among the flood of tinny-toned flat panels surrounding them. Long rumored, Emo Labs of Waltham, Mass. took to the DEMOfall stage to show off its “zero-footprint” speakers that can be invisibly embedded into a screen.

By generating sound through a thin, clear, vibrating membrane, Emo’s “edge motion” looks to be the first fundamentally new speaker technology in decades. Even on stage in front of 650 people in a hotel ballroom, the see-through speakers broadcast a rich sound.

Unlike traditional speakers which force sound waves outward from deep cabinets, Emo’s technology uses a transparent membrane that vibrates – Emo calls it “micro-flexing” – from the edge inward. Sideways force offers several advantages, Emo’s technologists claim: It allows better synchronization of sound with video, it carries the full range of sound in an extremely thin package and it can be built right into flat-panel televisions, LCD monitors, laptops and even picture frames.

“It’s brilliant engineering,” crows the DEMOfall company description, “and, after you hear it, you’ll not want anything less in your high-def TV.”

Sexy security

A company called Intelius introduced a sexy security (no typo) application. The company’s DateCheck is a mobile-enabled background checker intended for use by lonesome hearts on-the-go.

“Look up before you hook up,” advised the pretty young thing who appeared on stage to show how she could use DateCheck to get the low-down on a prospective date before he could finish retrieving his car from the valet. None of the technology is new, but the presentation certainly is novel.

By clicking on Sleaze Detector, a user can see instantly whether a potential Mister or Miss Right has a DUI, drug arrest or sexual assault on his or her record. Click on Net Worth to see whether the guy with the great lines owns his own house or, with a click on Living Situation, you can see whether he’s still living with Mom and Dad. Click on Compatability to see how her astrological signs match up to yours. Social Network produces a summary of the subject’s online life drawn from a number of social media networks.

The companies set to appear on the DEMO stage in Wednesday’s wrap-up include those intended to help us “work smarter” and do better “social marketing,” among other things. There will also be a new category of presenter – “alpha pitchers” – we’ll be reporting on who are given only 90 seconds each to summarize where they’re headed in the next year or two.

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