Archive for the 'DEMO' Category

DEMOfall09: Six Picks

The other day I blogged about some of the really passionate entrepreneurs I met at DEMOfall09 and I referenced the products that caught my eye. While I did not get to dig into all 70 or so companies while I was there, here are a few that I found worth noting:

Waze – This is a way cool, and I think much-needed, application that brings real-time traffic intelligence/information to the masses via the masses (crowd sourcing). The app works on GPS-enabled Smartphones and sends back GPS points as you drive.  The idea is that through the Waze community, traffic, road changes and other information is collected automatically and anonymously. Drivers can also take a more active role by reporting on new situations from their mobile device.   I need this for my suddenly hellish morning commutes and can’t wait to find out when it will work on my Windows Smartphone (they’ve promised Symbian and Win support as of this week). It also supports iPhone and Android.

WhoDoYouKnowAt, LLC – Think of this enterprise app as LinkedIn on Steroids or perhaps more aptly, LinkedIn With Security Layer.  It is a free and private (note: NOT social networking) networking application that allows you to leverage relationships for personal, business or civic gain in a confidential and tiered manner. CEO Lee Blaylock is a guy I’d bet on or want with me in a foxhole.  He developed the application after years working at Oracle, and I think he’s onto something. After all, how many introductions have you ever made or been asked to make via LinkedIn? What makes this app different is a “Levels of Trust” system that allows your online relationships to more accurately reflect those in the real world. With each connection, you can set their “Level of Trust” to reflect your real-life relationship. For example, when sharing a contact’s information with certain contacts, you can choose to remain anonymous. With your more trusted relationships, however, you can choose to share all of your network information.

Traackr – This is a Web 2.0 application for brand marketers, PR and marketing firms and in-house communications professionals. It allows users to harness the gold mine of information in social networks, blogs and Twitter. The application is called “A-list” or “Authority List,” and it helps you identify the people with the most clout so that you can target and track them. The company claims it can provide you a list of the most influential people online for any given subject as measured by the three “Rs” – reach, relevance and resonance. I plan to check it out in more detail soon.

MoLo Rewards, Inc. – This company has developed a wireless coupon application that allows users – via a cell phone – to scan items at the point of sale to instantly redeem coupons or loyalty rewards using either Near Field Communication (NFC) or RFID. MoLo Rewards also will allow consumers to link and join participating retail loyalty programs and earn points for every purchase by simply waving their cell phone in front of the cash register at the time of purchase.  These guys need to lock up some of the top pharmacy chains and then try to tackle the grocery giants. If they succeed, the coupon book goes the way of the daily paper or weekly shopper. CEO Robert Sprogis brought his “A” game to the DEMO stage, which further impressed me.

 

Enthusem – Can direct mail make a comeback? Enthusem is betting it can with a little Web 2.0 assistance. The company has set up an elegant approach to sending very high quality, personalized post cards through an online greeting card site that lets users send personal printed greeting cards that include a URL and a pickup code, which the recipient can type in online to see a custom video, read an extended note, or listen to an mp3 that you uploaded. This is CEO Steve Tingiris’ third company and maybe it will be the charm.

POWR – Believe it or not, these guys are bringing a new hardware solution to market. POWR (Point of Wealth Register) is a kiosk with an ATM-like interface that helps “unbanked” or hourly employees like bartenders, waiters, blackjack dealers, etc. make fast and easy deposits to personal accounts (think 401K or 529)or to make money transfers, pay bills, etc. These guys had a lot of spunk. CEO Doug Lindstrom is a veteran bartender so you know what his “light bulb” moment for his company must have been – many a morning waking up wondering where all of his tips went.  If POWR doesn’t end up getting bought by CoinStar or Western Union, I think they just might succeed on their own.

DotSyntax’s Digsby – If you have not tried it out (I have been using it for about a year), Digsby is an easy-to-use desktop application that helps people save time by managing their IM, email and social network accounts all from one location. DotSyntax unveiled the latest version of its social-media management tool at DEMO, and the new version is geared specifically towards helping solve the Twitter clutter and chaos problem. One of the key new features is a reversal from the Twitter client standard, in which tweet streams are displayed newest first. Digsby shows the oldest first with the logic being that it is easier to read threads from the beginning. I am not sure I agree, and I have yet to check out the new features yet. That’s what weekends are for …

— Posted by Tim Hurley

DEMO 2007 Profile: Eyejot, Inc.

Okay so who among us has never sent an email that was misconstrued, misinterpreted or misunderstood? How many of us – either as a sender or receiver of an email message has caused or witnessed some fairly serious communication problems because the tone or main premise of the message was not clear? Well, if you fall into either camp, eyejot might be for you. Eyejot is the namesake service debuted by EyeJot, Inc., a Seattle-area company. It allows users to instantaneously send video-emails to other individuals or to groups – with no client software needed. It works on any PC or laptop with flash and to use eyejot all you’ll need is a web camera and five minutes to sign up. The company says the service combines the best of email and video chat and bills the service as “the first comprehensive, client-free video-messaging platform” and is targeting both personal and business users. To that end, of course, it works with social network sites, like MySpace and it can handle “genuine business applications” such as BlackBerry or any phone that can play video files.

EyeJot got some really good press in the past week – a Wall Street Journal mention and photo, a “Top Five Innovations” award from CNET and the estimable Larry Magid included them in his CBS News.com report from DEMO.

I can see some practical applications or uses for the road warriors out there. For one there is the time zone and language barrier that could be overcome with eyejot. Here’s another idea: I for one, hate calling my wife when I am on the road while she’s back at the ranch, minding our three kids, cooking, cleaning, shopping and otherwise, as she did while I was in Palm Desert, braving 10 degree weather back here in New England. I dread those phone calls and sometimes hope I get voicemail in these situations. However, I’d also pretty much never email her from the road – too impersonal. EyeJot is a great solution for this “problem” – the recipient gets to hear your voice, see you smile, etc. and that’s a whole lot better than an email. So, will these ideas support a business model? If I am a betting man, I’d say I doubt it.

DEMO Profile: jyngle

Brevient Technologies is a Milwaukee-based tech company that offers CRM, web and audio conferencing products. Hardly unique right? Well, at DEMO, Brevient went in a different (consumer) direction as it unveiled jyngle, a free voice and SMS service that allows users to create, send and receive messages from large groups via the web or their mobile phones. Jyngle is the brainchild of CEO (and youth soccer coach) Matt Lautz, whose “light bulb” moment came when he was frustrated by trying to keep his soccer teams’ players (or more likely their moms) informed – via email or multiple phone calls — of last minute field changes, rain outs, etc. With jyngle, Lautz, and quite possibly, many other coaches around the U.S. will be able to update their teams, co-workers, clients, classmates, friends, etc. of last minute itinerary, game, meeting or social gathering changes or other important news in near real-time. It is an interesting concept and I’ll be trying it out with my son’s baseball team this spring for sure. Lautz told me that scaling Brevient’s business to support jyngle was a “no brainer” – they already had the infrastructure in terms of hardware and software engineers in place to support jyngle. He also said he’s gotten some interest from VCs attending DEMO and he thinks jyngle could represent a third of his company’s revenue over time.

Doings at DEMO


Didn’t make it to DEMO this year? Curious about what some of the most innovative companies and technologies that showed their wares out in Palm Desert? Well, if you are interested in reading an unbiased report of the cooler products, services and sites now available, check back with us over the next few days as we provide a capsule view of a few of the things that caught my eye. There was a lot of talk about whether or not the “next Google or YouTube” happened to be among the 68 companies who got their six minutes of fame on stage at DEMO. I won’t go so far to say that this is likely, but I will go out on a limb and say that at least a few of these companies will either become tech industry house hold names, attractive acquisition targets or at the very least, new additions to the list of “must have” products or services in the coming months.

Bring The Bling

Feeling the need to defend myself, err, shed some light on what is really happening at DEMO 2007 –  the coming out party for a number of promising companies and cool applications – there is simply no truth to the Jay-Z sighting rumor. Other than some big name journalists and tech industry luminaries, there wasn’t a “celebrity” in sight. Late in the day, however Bling Software (gotta love the name right now, but wonder if it has staying power and will sound very 2005 in a few months) demonstrated some very visually compelling applications for mobile phones. Bling’s CEO Roy Satterthwaite and Vice President, Products, Mike Uomoto conducted the demo and showed an application they have built for BarryBonds.com. They were joined by Bonds’ Web designer Anthony Phills. Near the conclusion of his six minutes of fame, Satterthwaite paused somewhat awkwardly and welcomed onto the stage, not Jay-Z, but the embattled Mr. Bonds himself. Barry strolled on stage, gave a big smile and a wave to the crowd and thanked Bling for bringing his application to market. I have it on very good authority (Bling’s PR guru Christine Cefalo, a former colleague and a friend of mine) that Bonds spoke with AP, BusinessWeek and Forbes about his work with Bling prior to going on stage. I’m sure Bonds felt relieved to be talking to technology reporters and for once, did not have to answer the dreaded steroids questions or make predictions about how many “dingers” he will hit this year. Either way, Bling looks like one of DEMO 2007’s home runs.

DEMO 2007: Not Just For Start-Ups

Interestingly, of the 68 companies here at DEMO 2007, there are more than a few that most would consider to be “household names” in the tech sector. They include Alcatel Lucent (on stage now as I blog), Seagate (also a major sponsor), Symantec, SupportSoft and Wyse Technology. Whether this signals a dearth of viable candidates from the pure start-up and early stage companies out there, or DEMO show organizers wanted to give a nod to the larger, more established and publicly-held companies out there and acknowledge the significant technology innovations they are bringing to market, is debatable. Either way there is a great mix of participants here and I suspect this trend will continue in future DEMO events.


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