At the recent DEMOfall 08 show in San Diego, a wide variety of products and companies debuted. These products and companies spanned the whole spectrum of technology, from consumer Web sites to enterprise-focused SAAS solutions to cool gadgets to core pieces of manufacturing technology.
Past DEMO shows have seen the launch of companies that are now household words, such as Salesforce.com and Tivo. But predicting which of the companies from this past DEMO show will go on to similar success is a tough job. Past shows have seen companies that looked like can't-miss prospects fall to obscurity while mostly ignored products go on to real success.
So rather than try to pick future winners or losers, I've chosen to list the products that looked the most interesting and promising. So here is my list of the most promising products and companies from DEMOfall 08.
Microstaq SEV (Silicon Expansion Valve) -- My knowledge of valves for air conditioning units is pretty limited. But if this company can deliver on its promises, this product could potentially save a good deal in energy resources.
Zazengo -- Uses the tools of social networking and Web 2.0 to facilitate good works, rather than just work. Zazengo helps volunteers and groups manage and track projects.
Infovell -- A Web-based tool that has the power of advanced desktop search and research tools and the ability to search the deep Web.
Intelius iSearch -- A little scary in its reach and effectiveness, iSearch makes it possible to find people, such as former colleagues or flames, without having lots of details at your command. Of course, these features can be used to find data about oneself as much as for about others.
Maverick Mobile Maverick Secure Mobile -- Easily one of the coolest products to debut at DEMOfall, Maverick Secure Mobile is a mobile device security solution that can protect the data on a stolen phone, encrypting it and also letting users remotely retrieve their contacts. However, the product also makes it possible to strike back at the phone thief by monitoring and logging calls and text messages, disabling the phone, and even making the phone emit an alarm and display a message telling the thief to return the phone.
G.ho.st -- Lots of people talk about Web-based operating systems, but by combining virtualization and a powerful Web solution, G.ho.st lets users access files and applications on nearly any browser or mobile device.
Usable Security Systems UsableLogin -- User passwords are the weak link in nearly any security system, and this is especially true for Web-based applications and sites. UsableLogin provides a nice centralized solution for providing strong passwords without the need to memorize multiple passwords.
Plastic Logic -- One of the most interesting presentations of DEMOfall 08 and winner of the People's Choice award, Plastic Logic demoed a radically new kind of e-book reader that is based on plastic electronics, from the display to the chips
RealNetworks Home Entertainment RealDVD -- Not revolutionary, as there are other tools that do the same thing. But the simplicity of RealDVD, plus the fact that it comes from RealNetworks, may make this the first DVD movie backup solution to get real penetration (unless the studios stop it).
Awind MobiShow -- A nifty little device that makes it possible to wirelessly send presentations, video and other multimedia from a smart phone to projectors or other displays.
CoreTrace Bouncer -- Most people agree that whitelisting applications is one of the best ways to secure systems, but most whitelisting solutions are too strict and inflexible. Bouncer looks to be designed to provide strong whitelisting without tying the hands of users.
Fusion-IO ioSAN -- In 2007 Fusion-IO debuted its solid-state hard drive technology at DEMO. At this year's show the company showed it could make these disks part of a normal enterprise SAN (storage area network) infrastructure.
Xumii -- Dealing with all of the social networks, IM clients, collaboration tools and other things that are supposed to make your life easier is a serious chore. Xumii is hoping to solve that problem with a solution that centralizes access and management of these services.