The ideas came in five-minute bursts, as representatives from companies big and small took their turns at the podium, seeking to receive a little recognition at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s annual “Destination Innovation” event.
One promised an alternative to my cluttered e-mail inbox.
Another, a cellphone-based banking system for places in the developing world where people still rely largely on cash.
A start-up called Oculis Labs showed off some you-have-to-see-to-believe software that allows you to read text on a computer screen, but makes it nearly impossible for the person peering over your shoulder to do so.
There was a company touting an easy way to publish a magazine on the iPad, and a couple that had devised new virtual fences to keep cybercrooks at bay. Data virtualization was big. So were new products and services to help manage our growing computer infrastructure.
Comcast displayed its cable box of the (near) future, and Delphi teamed with Verizon Wireless to demonstrate a fob you can plug into your car that allows you to monitor diagnostics, track the vehicle’s movement and even start the engine remotely, all from your smartphone.
A Microsoft envoy woke up the crowd by sending his Surface tablet clattering to the floor, all to prove its durability.
As master of ceremonies, I literally had a front row seat to all this and more at the event, held in The Washington Post’s headquarters downtown.
There may not have been any Steve Jobs-like “one more thing” surprises in the short presentations. But you came away from the presentations with the impression that we are rolling out innovations in smaller bites these days, improving as we go along. Iteration is trumping invention.
“Right when your product is coming off the press, you need to think about your next innovation,” advised Magid Abraham, the co-founder of Reston-based ComScore, during one of several talks between pitches.
Staff writer Steven Overly canvassed the entrepreneurs at the session, asking them how they stay ahead of the curve. Check out his video report online at www.capbiz.biz, and let us know what you think.