March 22, 2010, 8:41 PM — DEMO quite literally kicked off with a smashing presentation Monday morning. The first presenter, a maker of a mobile application that eliminates the need for signing and faxing documents, took a baseball bat to a fax machine in a reference to the scene in "Office Space" in which disgruntled cubicle workers destroy a malfunctioning printer.
Josh Kerr, co-founder of DEMO presenter ABJK NewCo, took his trusty wooden bat on stage and gave three solid whacks to a fax machine before throwing it on the ground, rendering it even more useless than your typical fax.
"This is it, I am through with this fax machine!" Kerr declared, after describing the frustration of waiting for a faxed document, signing the document and faxing it back to the sender. "It's like this ball and chain that tethers me to this office," he said.
ABJK is trying to solve this problem with Zosh, an iPhone application (cost: $2.99) that lets users receive documents on their mobile phones and sign them with their finger. The software is optimized for the mobile phone touchscreen. After clicking on the signature line of a document, you have the option of inserting a signature, other text, the date and image. When you sign with your finger, the background moves from right to left to give you more room, and you can move the signature and resize it to make sure it fits on the appropriate line.
Zosh was one of 10 mobile applications demonstrated at DEMO Monday morning, and one of more than 60 new technologies to be presented during the event, which continues on Tuesday.
"We traveled the whole world looking for the best entrepreneurs and ideas," DEMO conference chief Matt Marshall said in his opening remarks.
While Silicon Valley is the traditional location for DEMO start-ups, Marshall noticed that more than half of the applications received were from outside California, and that a third were outside the United States.
The DEMO presenters are divided into the categories mobile, social media, cloud, consumer and enterprise, but across those categories there is one overarching trend, Marshall said.
"Data is going live," he said. "Data is being crunched live, architected live, distributed live and being consumed live across any platform. Anyone who isn't part of that trend is going to be left behind. Anyone who is sailing that trend is going to have some nice wind behind them."
Divisions between devices such as television sets, computer screens and other devices, including new ones like Apple's iPad, are starting to be blurred, Marshall said. "You should be able to get data live on your TV and that data should no longer be any different than what's on your computer screen," he said.