Innovation on Display at 15th Annual DEMO Conference
February 16, 2005
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- A body scanner measuring people for custom-fit clothes, a handheld computer diagnosing car ailments and a cell phone that plays Internet radio were among the 73 new products and services unveiled here this week at the 15th annual DEMO conference.
"These products speak to the fulfillment of very long-held promises and ideas," said Chris Shipley, executive producer of the show, which gives entrepreneurs six minutes on stage in a hotel to demo their latest innovations. [Shipley will join Leslie Walker for an online discussion of this year's conference on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. Submit a question or comment now.]
Among the old promises entrepreneurs tried to fulfill were ways to improve Internet telephone service and Web surfing.
Teleo (www.teleo.com), an Internet phone provider in San Francisco, unveiled an online calling service that integrates calling from cell phones and personal computers. For $4.95 a month, Teleo's service lets people make and receive Internet-based calls from their mobile phones or desktop computers, using the same phone number.
Another theme at the show, which concluded yesterday, was the continued shift toward software as a service online, or business computing services hosted and managed on the Web by other companies. London-based Marrakech Express (www.marrakech.com), for example, offered an Internet service to automate companies' procurement processes with online forms for ordering, invoicing and similar buying tasks. Smart Online (www.smartonline.com), based in Durham, N.C., showed a more ambitious new Internet service, offering integrated menus for managing finances, human resources, and other business functions.
A start-up called Jotspot (www.jot.com) introduced software that lets companies create advanced Web sites -- intranets, extranets, blogs and wikis -- with built-in communication tools, for $3 per month per user.
Consumer products also grabbed a lot of the limelight at the two-day show. One of the flashiest was a prototype called iRadio from Motorola.
Motorola marketing director David Ulmer shows off a prototype iRadio with a miniature Jeep. The iRadio, going on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, will allow people to use cell phones as a remote control for pausing and playing live radio and stored music through both car and home stereos. Consumers will pay $75 to $150 for a small box that plugs into car stereos, plus about $5 a month to use the service.
A company called NTERA Ltd. (www.ntera.com) shows off a bright-white electronic display technology called NanoChromics, which uses nanotechnology to produce displays that are easier on the eyes than today's LCD versions, thanks to greater reflectivity and higher contrast. Shown are two iPod music players; the one on the left uses standard LCD display, the one on the right has the new NanoChromics display.
Reza Raji, chief executive of iControl Networks (www.icontrol.com), shows a prototype of the home automation system that will go on sale this summer through a variety of Internet service providers. iControl pricing starts at $399 for about five devices (door and window sensors, a Web camera and the like) plus $9.95 a month for its online monitoring service. iControl claims to be easier and cheaper than other home automation systems already on the market.