September 28, 2006 12:33 PM PDT
Hits and misses at DemoFall
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My third pick is ThinkFree Office. I've been following the development of this tool and the latest version provides one of the richest Internet application experiences I've seen yet. The document- sharing and version control features are particularly powerful.
Dan Farber, ZDNet: My fellow travelers to DemoFall have identified many of the winners, given that no single product stood head and shoulders above the others. For the more business-centric products, PostPath's Linux-based Exchange server, and the disaster recovery solution in a box for Microsoft Exchange from Teneros, appear to offer compelling propositions. I also liked the application virtualization platform from Trigence. In addition, the influence of wikis and Web 2.0 on business applications was evident in content management products from Koral, System One, Serebrum and MindTouch.
Two of my personal favorites were Pluggd's HearHere software, which combines semantic/topic analysis and speech recognition to allow searching of audio files for specific content, and RingCube Technologies' MojoPac, which brings a Windows XP or Vista PC environment to any USB 2.0 storage device, including iPods.
Mitch Ratcliffe: I thought Dash was a miss, albeit a near miss, contrary to Daniel. The social features of the device are really intriguing--each device uploads data that can be used by others on the network to avoid traffic when calculating routes or find services or restaurants. However, the demo played a trick that made it look much easier to use than it will usually be.
VaporStream, while controversial and interesting because it simply destroys e-mail after it's read, is a miss. I can't imagine any CIO buying this, because corporate records are necessary--if you worry about what you send in e-mail, don't send the e-mail. I'm comfortable with making mistakes, so I don't fear a record of my communications, unless the government wants it, which I can deal with by calling an attorney, not turning to "Mission: Impossible" e-mail strategies.
There also were a number of features in search of a company and products with no business plan. They'll learn and grow or fail by next year's Demo.
Dan Farber: The most controversial demo goes to VaporStream.
Marc Orchant: Mitch, Dan and I agree on VaporStream. This looks like a Sarbanes-Oxley nightmare and I don't see a lot of organizations taking a chance on the repercussions of not retaining corporate communications. The ScanR business card recognizer, although a great idea, lost me because of ScanR's affiliation with Jigsaw--a service I find highly objectionable (it pays people to submit other people's business cards into a directory without their explicit permission).
Rafe Needleman: Two things. First, the Mvox Duo, a Bluetooth headset/speakerphone combo. It's a nice little product, but I just told you exactly what it is in four words. The "Star Trek"-themed demo was overkill. And second, SalesGenius, which I've covered before. It lets a sales rep monitor potential customers as they use the rep's Web site. Honestly, I think it's a brilliant product, and I'll bet it does make salespeople more productive, but it's one of the creepiest monitoring tools I've seen. I'll also weigh in against VaporStream. If you've got a secret, your best bet is to keep it off the PC and the Internet, period.
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