DEMO Trots Out New Tech

The biannual DEMO conference starts this week in Palm Desert, Calif., with a gaggle of new tech products and services from startups and more well established companies. On Tuesday, the first of 77 different companies will show off a range of products spanning both consumer and business interests.

DEMO’s impresario, Chris Shipley, said the conference mirrors and sometimes leads trends in marketplace. “We’re going to have business and consumer technologies, but the trend we’re seeing is the impact the individual is having on all aspects of computing,” Shipley told

“When you’re at home you cruise YouTube and Facebook and then you get to work and face the ERP system with a dashboard interface that’s incomprehensible,” she said. “There’s a big disconnect there, but it’s changing, it has to.”

One of the drivers of such change are social networks and so-called Web 2.0 community applications like blogs and wikis. But it’s not all about Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn anymore; a number of new players are carving out niche applications or going beyond what the market leading players offer both in social networks and other important technology areas:

Here’s a sampling of what’ll be at DEMO:

CatalystWeb will enter the online applications arena with the launch of CatalystOffice. Instead of enterprises, CatalystWeb said its targeting small and “fiercely independent” businesses with a suite of Web-based productivity and communications software.

Based on a SaaS (Software as a Service) on demand delivery model, CatalystOffice includes a document management application for sharing files that the company said eliminates the need to use “painfully slow” Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Also included, Share Workspace for online collaboration; secure “enterprise grade” instant messaging and CatalystOffice Sync for synchronizing data with Microsoft Outlook.

Monthly service plans start at $25 a month for 10GB and scale up to $125 a month for 100GB, with the first GB free.

Chris Shipley

Chris Shipley, DEMO’s executive producer, during the 2007 conference

Source: DEMO

Movial is set to unveil its Social Communicator, an application designed for “instant social communications.” The company’s IP communications software is targeted at service providers who in turn can offer users a simpler and more diverse way to share content.

“In research we’ve conducted, 60 percent of online users have told us they want the ability to use any device they choose to experience Internet-like ease, comfort and usability, regardless of who they are communicating with and regardless of the applications they are using,” said Victor Donselaar, president of Movial, in a statement. “These same users also told us they want to be able to communicate with each other instantly about their social content.”

Movial’s Social Communicator automatically determines the best way to share content, regardless of a user’s device or online/offline status, according to the company. The idea is to bring real time or instant message-like communications to a variety of devices, including mobile handsets, PCs, IP set-top boxes, and Internet tablet devices.

Road warriors might find the release of PCMobilizer of interest. The application, from Rove Mobile, lets you access any file or application on your PC or notebook computer from a BlackBerry smart phone or Windows Mobile device.

The company said the software can be quickly and easily downloaded from either the computer or mobile device; a username and password is needed to get access to your remote computer. Monthly subscription to the service is $9.50. There’s also a free 30 day trial at the company’s Web site.

“Remotely connecting to desktops that are in the office or at home is a growing industry and we’ve seen a strong demand to extend this capability to mobile devices,” said Rove Mobile’s CEO Rob Woodbridge.

There have been a number of project management programs over the years, each promising to make the planning process simpler and more effective. LiquidPlanner said the beta launch of its on-demand software represents a new approach.

Instead of insisting on specific time estimates to complete a task, LiquidPlanner applies statistical math to determine what it says is the “probability” of completing a specific task. The idea is provide more “dynamic” scheduling that can help teams better manage and visualize where a project is likely to break down.

“The way information workers use and share project information has rapidly evolved and the existing toolset simply hasn’t kept pace,” said Charles Seybold, CEO and co-founder of LiquidPlanner, in a statement. “Just as reinvented CRM, LiquidPlanner has turned the scheduling paradigm on its head to help project and program managers build schedules they can trust.”

The DEMO conference runs through Wednesday, Jan. 30. will have further coverage throughout the week.

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