I had a chance to meet with a few companies who haven’t yet taken the stage at DEMO but were showcasing their products and services at their “booths.” There’s a variety of things to see and even the things that aren’t “fun-looking” (someone else’s phrase, not mine) doesn’t mean it’s not a cool or incredibly useful product.
Infovell: On the surface, Infovell is a search engine but it’s not trying to go head-to-head with Google or Yahoo. Instead, Infovell calls itself a “research engine” because it goes deep into the Web. The company uses the example of medical terms – maybe for someone who is trying to learn more information about a rare disease. The problem is that terms like Alzheimers or Diabetes can produce thousands upon thousands of results. By going deep into the Web, the company is drilling deeper into what’s on a Web site, finding (and indexing) contents within a research paper that might be on a site but not necessarily discoverable in the search results. Infovell is also using “KeyPhrases,” which allows queries of unlimited length. That allows users to submit queries of a whole sentence or paragraph – or even an entire document – to drill deeper and find results that are more relevant.
Q-Task: The company and product focus on online project management and collaboration. Nothing new about these sort of tools. But I found the accountability feature within Q-Task as something that sets it apart from others. In a corporate setting, let’s say Fred – the boss – assigns a task to Ruth – the employee. The software will not only note when Fred made the assignment but also when Ruth acknowledges and accepts the task. Yes, it’s accountability and also even a little Big Brotherish. But, for the employee, that can also be a good thing. At the end of the year, when it comes time for that annual bonus, the boss can’t say that jobs didn’t get done. Q-Task will provide the truth.
TikiTag: This Alcatel-Lucent venture utilizes RFID technology to turn real world objects into online applications. A DEMO using a teddy bear makes it hard to understand until real life uses are explained. What TikiTag offers in its starter kit (available on Oct. 1 for $50 on Amazon) is a USB reader – which allows for set up – and RFID stickers. Here’s an example of how it works: a cleaning service places RFID tags in offices of a workplace. As the cleaning person comes in and cleans, the person scans the RFID tag with an RFID-equipped device (such as an RFID-equipped mobile phone), registering the time and date and the person who did the job. On the software dashboard, it‘s easy to track who did what, when and where. TikiTag is also encouraging developers to create applications using RFID.
Paragent: Once again, nothing new here – there are a lot of companies doing remote desktop management for IT services. But what is different here is the price and target customer. For about $8 per year per computer, Paragent brings value to the IT consultants who work with small- to medium-sized businesses and don’t necessarily have the needs – or budget – for a full-time staff. As for its tools, the usability is proactive, as well as reactive. Sure, someone at the office can put in a help desk request and the IT folks can respond. But, through the software dashboard, the administrators can remotely manage things like hard drive space, patches or other updates and address those issues before they become problems.