PHOENIX—Chris Shipley, executive producer of the Demo conference, opened the show with a challenge to over 700 attendees and 68 presenting companies to bring simplicity back to computing.
“Unless we commit ourselves to a better experience, Im afraid many people will just sit out the market,” she said. “This is the challenge I put forth to you today: How do we make computing simpler for the masses?
“Im not suggesting that we dumb down tech. Im suggesting that we simplify tech, that we open it to new buyers and bring personal computing back from the brink of diminishing returns.”
Over the next two days, Demo will offer 68 products a proving ground as they vie to become the next Tivo or Palm, two household names that made their debut at previous Demo conferences.
While some products will target consumers and others will focus on the enterprise, a large number of them will pertain to both markets, as the line between enterprise and consumer computing begins to blur, Shipley said.
Six years ago, Salesforce.com introduced the concept of delivering Web-based applications in place of traditional software at Demo when it launched its Salesforce.com CRM (customer relationship management) service.
This year, service-based computing is the dominant trait that the emerging technologies and products here will share.
All the products—from an ice cream vending machine to database software designed to analyze large data sets—have some sort of services component to them, Shipley said. And while its too early to proclaim the death of locally based computer applications, Shipley said she expects service-based computing to continue to gain significant ground.
“What does this Demo have to say about the direction of the technology market?” she said. “It seems to me that over the last 18 months or so weve been building to a crescendo … that really is a fulfillment of some of the things weve envisioned and talked about over the last few years. [Its] the kind of crescendo that brings new and dynamic change.”
The first session of the conference focused on an array of companies offering emerging technologies and new functionality. Grass Roots Software, for example, introduced Freepath, a communication tool targeted at enterprise users that enables the creation of presentations from a variety of file types including PowerPoint, Flash and PDF.
NetworkStreaming, which specializes in remote control solutions, showed SupportDesk, an appliance-based remote support product that allows IT managers to connect remotely to end users to troubleshoot computer issue.
Unlike other remote control products such as Citrixs GoToAssist and WebExs Support Center, SupportDesk not a hosted solution, a feature NetworkStreaming officials said would allow enterprises to scale the solution efficiently.
Ugobe showed off robotic technology that allows robots to act like lifelike creatures. The company unveiled Pleo, a robotic dinosaur with the capability of organic movement and the ability to react to its environment.