Cool stuff at DEMO 2001

Are you the kind of person who likes to stay up on the latest and greatest technology innovations, but just can’t devote enough time to scouting what’s out there? If so, don’t fear, because Chris Shipley and Jim Forbes are on the watch for you. Chris and Jim are the lead producers of an annual technology show called DEMO.

Phoenix was the location of DEMO 2001, held in mid-February. As they do each year, Chris and Jim scoured the universe (well, at least 1,000 companies) to find 75 companies that offer exciting innovations in IT. These companies showed their wares at DEMO 2001. A quick look at some of them tells us a bit about our IT future.

* Educating buyers

If you are looking for a way to develop a more-educated customer base, Powered. may have a tool for you. The Austin, Texas, company demonstrated its Virtual Briefing Center (VBC) at DEMO 2001. Powered coined the phrase " eduCommerce " to describe VBC -- a sales and marketing tool designed to educate corporate buyers so they can make informed purchasing decisions. If you want to see an example of VBC in action on the Web, visit Barnes and Noble University ( This site educates people about various topics, such as literature and languages, and then offers to sell appropriate books in that category. First the education, then the commerce. Think what this could do for your Web site.

* P2P security

Many analysts would agree that we are on the threshold of an explosion in peer-to-peer computing via the Internet. Forget the bad publicity peer to peer has gotten in the Napster battle; peer to peer has many legitimate business uses, and it’s going to be a hot technology. But, security and accountability are real concerns. ECertain has developed technology that enables point-to-point data transmissions while guaranteeing the identity of senders and receivers, what information was sent and when, who received it, and when it was received. The Austin, Texas, company says its Digital Certainty product offers four key elements: accountability, identity, integrity and confidentiality. You’ll need them all if your company jumps on the peer-to-peer bandwagon.

*PDA productivity

Speaking of bandwagons, have you started toting a PDA yet? If so, do you find it as useful as you had hoped it would be? Maybe you should test-drive e-sistant from Action Engine. Due to be released this spring, e-sistant acts like a remote control for the Web, with a simple interface that lets users purchase products and services via the Web with no browsing or searching. Action Engine says e-sistant will make you much more productive with your PDA. According to the company, the device learns your preferences over time, making it even easier to conduct common tasks. Among the things you can do are: make restaurant reservations; get real time weather reports; look up movie times and locations; access current traffic information; view news specific to your location; and check up-to-the-minute flight status.

E-sistant is in its beta-test phrase right now, and you can join the test if you have a Palm Pilot, Compaq iPAQ, or Hewlett Packard Jornada handheld ccomputer.

Dozens of other useful and exciting products and technologies were on display at DEMO 2001. And if the DEMO track record for picking winners holds true, we’ll be seeing many of these products in the channel soon.

DEMO is part of the ongoing IDG Executive Forums, and IDG is the parent company of Network World.

This story, "Cool stuff at DEMO 2001 " was originally published by Network World.

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