Some Other Products Demoed
There were many products on display in the Demo Pavilion. Not all of them were shown on stage. Some companies had to make do with the Hotseat 60 second presentations to try to entice you to check out their booth. I think I saw most of the booths. There was only so much time when the Pavilion was open, and it usually overlapped with the time needed for lunch, calls to the office, email, etc. If any product took up too much of your time, you couldn't give all the others their due. Many of those in the section I probably missed presented on stage.
I find with the products at Demo, all of whom are only allowed to exhibit if they pass Chris and Jim's examination in the months before the conference, there is usually something very interesting, especially if you take the time to ask questions and push deeper. That's one of the things that's so nice about Demo.
Here are pictures and notes from my wanderings through the Pavilion over the two days. I didn't get pictures of everything, so I apologize to those few companies I missed. It doesn't mean they aren't interesting. You may find more information on the Demo web site and in the other reports linked from the home page
of this report.
The Pavilion was in a tent set up on a parking lot covered with Astroturf and carpet. Each exhibitor gets a table and some chairs. Almost all had LCD displays connected to laptops or whatever. This made it a little easier to take screen shots. (CRTs require you to manually set the shutter to a slow speed to avoid seeing just a little band of image). Unfortunately, like the pictures of the big screen in the ballroom, auto exposure (which I mainly use for convenience) underexposes images with lots of white, and I don't really have the time to fix all of them here. Sorry. Better dark than nothing.
Mitigo showed how they use the simple digital cameras in PDAs and cell phones (well, the cell phones in Japan) to decode barcodes without needing the laser beam of a normal barcode scanner. They just use smarter software. This, they hope, let's you see something like a book and immediately scan its barcode and order it from Amazon or whatever. I see this as yet another example of using more software and computer power to get more information out of simple sensors.
Digit Wireless makes a flexible keypad that has raised bumps with letters around the depressed numbers. Even though it is tiny, by, again, using computer intelligence to detect the different pressure on multiple points, it can tell when you press a letter or a number. Big fingers are not a problem, it seems.
Valence Technology showed their PowerPro. It's a 120 watt-hour battery pack that can power a laptop or other high current device for 10 hours or, simultaneously, a low current device like a cell phone for days. They make a lithium phosphate battery that is very light. The problem was that laptop manufacturers can't afford to retool their designs for each new battery technology. So, Valence made this separate battery pack that has smart electronics that detects what type of unit it is plugged into and then simulates the power from that laptop's AC adapter -- no low power dim screens or slow CPUs and the laptop's normal battery charges, too. This unit is coming out soon for not too many hundred dollars I understand. Enough battery to last a transcontinental flight.
Here's another picture of the Linden World, showing the development environment for creating objects in the world:
PrivaSys showed their credit card replacements. While these look like credit cards, they really have keyboards and a controlled magnetic strip. You can hold the codes for all of your credit cards in one card, choose which card you want to use with a push of a button, and only access it if you know a PIN (lost cards are not a problem). Since the output is a normal magnetic strip, there is no new infrastructure needed to support the things you can do with this device -- current readers already in place work.
Walking around you run into people. Here's analyst and VC Stewart Alsop:
I stopped by the Evolution Robotics booth and trained it to recognize my camera. On the left you can see the laptop on the robot and the detector "eyes" and camera. In the middle you can see the object detector software output showing my fingers and the camera lens. On the right you can see (by the yellow boxes) how it found both dollar bills even though they were slightly covered up and one was rotated. It was set up to distinguish (and did) between ones, twenties, and hundreds. (When it sees a hundred the voice asks if you'd like to join in their "B" round...these guys know how to do demos.)
Newbury Networks showed their LocaleManager. They use special technology to detect (based on signal strength and stuff) where an 802.11b device is (accurate to 10 feet). You can then use that information to provide location-based services. For example, a handheld in a museum is an application they are working on.
Assentive Direct Transfer makes it easier to share files without using FTP or attachments. It uses a browser, does audit trails, and has their own serving device.
Think Dynamics showed Think Control. It's a software suite for automating resource management in a data center.
Activience showed their Mobile Interaction Platform which lets users receive and respond to events via voice and data-enabled wireless and wired devices.
Mobile Systems Verification Corporation has a Wireless Test System which lets QA people simulate the behavior of a large population of roaming wireless users. It applies the load to actual devices, sometimes by using the "test" modes of those devices to simulate different signal strength, etc.
Here I saw NPR's John McChesney trying out the TeleSym wireless voice over IP system and comparing it simultaneously with a cell call to hear fidelity and latency:
IXI Mobile showed software and a reference design for their Personal Mobile Gateway (PMG). The PMG is a bridge between systems like between Bluetooth and cellular or Bluetooth and 802.11b. You see a Bluetooth enabled iPaq next to a working PMG. Next you see both sides of the sample PMG circuit board, showing the Bluetooth and logic side and the cell phone side. Last, on the right you see a tiny Bluetooth "phone" with a slide out keyboard that works by connecting to a PMG in your briefcase or belt:
Cincro Communications showed their Looking Glass product for creating and managing shared spaces on a web site. You can zoom in and out and pan around, place all sorts of objects by drag and drop, etc.
Presenter showed their iPresentation Mobile Conference solution. You can share slides and a whiteboard on a Pocket PC via wireless.
KnowNow showed their Application Internetworking Product Suite for integrating dynamic data sources into desktop applications.
AirClic showed their Global Information Platform for turning a scanned or typed code into an event for processing.
Deep Video Imaging showed their "Actual Depth" displays. These flat displays give a "3D" look by having two planes of display: One normal LCD, and another transparent LCD in front of it sharing the same backlight. You can connect them to a Windows machine and treat them as two monitors in various ways. Here on the left you see an operation on one plane with the patient's vital signs hovering above it on another. Next you see Microsoft Project dragged out to overlay the text over the bars (there is some parallax effect because I shot it from above). The last two pictures on the right show standard Windows screens that let you see some of the 3D effect in a 2D picture. The prices are less than the price of two monitors.
That was it for those I got in OK pictures. It was time to shut everything down and we had to leave the Pavilion. I went out to the lobby and ran into Amy Wohl and Bill Machrone. We all ended up out to dinner with people from Octave Communications and others.
The next morning, Wednesday, I took an early flight back to Boston, working on this in airport lobbies (thank you airports for having A/C outlets in at least a few places, even if they are for carpet cleaning) and on the planes. I finished it after dinner and posted it.