torsdag 25. mars 2010

VentureBeat’s Best of DEMO list; pick your own favorites

Disclosure: The companies listed are among those chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.
The organizers and audience at this week’s DEMOSpring10 conferencehave already chosen their winners, but the team of VentureBeat writer covering the events also took time to vote on our favorite companies at the. We were impressed with the quality of the 65 companies that appeared at the show, but some of them naturally stood out for having the most potential. Here’s our list in order, starting with our favorite company at No. 1. Please take the poll and vote for your own favorite out of all 65.
1. InVisage Technologies — camera phone image sensor maker — Hardware companies have done well at DEMO in the past. They’re still pretty rare, so we were surprised to see a chip company surface among the presenters. Fortunately, InVisage Technologies had both a cool idea and a great way to get to market fast, as well as $30 million in its pocket. The company’s QuantumFilm chip taps nanotechnology for a material that is great at absorbing light. InVisage says its quantum-dot technology is about 90 percent to 95 percent light absorbent, compared to just 20 percent to 25 percent for most silicon-based image sensors. It’s also easy to manufacture, as InVisage simply splashes the material onto the top of a traditional silicon chip. In doing so it could create an image sensor that is four times better at absorbing light than current chips, and the image sensor also has twice the dynamic range. Using sputtering machines that are already in chip factories, the company can make the chips with a small amount of manufacturing cost added to the typical price for a traditional chip. We expect that, if InVisage does what it says, it will shake up the $5 billion image sensor chip market.
2. Phone Halo — loss prevention device — “Honey, where’s my keys?” Hopefully Phone Halo will stop you from asking where you left your keys or phone every morning.  The company has a $70 device, dubbed Phone Halo Protect, which you can put on your key ring. You download software to your phone and then turn it on so that the phone is paired to your key ring device. If you walk out of a room without your phone, your key ring will start making noise. And if you leave your keys behind, then your phone starts an alarm. The application will also send you an email alerting you to the loss and then tell you the location on a Google Map of where the separation occurred. That’s because the Phone Halo can tap Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation information. Phone Halo can also alert your friends or family by sending them an email, so they can tell you where you need to go to find your phone. Of course, if you leave both your phone and your keys behind, you’re out of luck. Rivals include Loc8tor, a device manufacturer that can track objects through the use of censors, as well as Zomm, a censor that notifies you if your phone moves beyond a specific distance or has a call.
3. eXaudios — the MagInify Call Center, which recognizes caller emotions — Call centers get a lot of calls from stressed out people. It would be great if the call center managers could figure out who is the most upset and if the call center employee is talking the person down. This Ramat-Gan, Israel-based company says it has the answer. eXaudios spent 15 years doing research on recognizing the emotion in someone’s voice and predicting the person’s state of mind. With MagInify Call Center, the software shows happy people in green and angry callers in red. The software detects which customer is about to lose his or her temper in real time and warns a manager, who can step in to defuse the situation. At the same time, the software tells the manager which employee can best handle tense calls. The company says it is about 80 percent accurate. It wasn’t perfect at recognizing our emotions, but it was good enough to win the $1 million DEMOgod grand prize from DEMO.
4. Gwabbit – the Gwab-O-Sphere automatic contact cloud — This company won a DEMOgod award a year ago for its Gwabbit for Outlook software which automatically detects a contact in an email and enters the data into your Outlook contact address book. Now Gwabbit is launching a cloud-based service that backs up your data to the cloud. Once there, the Gwab-O-Sphere will keep your contacts synchronized with a bunch of other repositories of contact information, from to LinkedIn. It also lets you know the Facebook or Twitter handles for your contact. To date, more than 5 million contacts have been automatically collected and Gwabbit estimates it will have 200 million by 2011. Gwabbit is making a lot of progress taking the pain out of organizing your contacts.
5. ABJK NewCo — Zosh, a digital signature app for mobile devices — Joshua Kerr, founder of the company, is shown here smashing a fax machine, which he says has stubbornly hung to life in the digital era. People still need fax machines to send signed contracts. But the company’s Zosh app can get rid of that paperwork. It lets you use a touchscreen phone such as the iPhone to write your name on the screen and transfer it into any document. You can insert your signature into a document and adjust it to fit exactly in the right par t of the page. This “mobile document execution platform” also lets you search for signed documents in your email system, rather than forcing you to fish through files on paper.
6. Everloop — Facebook-like social network for kids — The social networks such as Facebook and MySpace have served people well, from ages 13 and up. But for kids younger than that, social networks can be dangerous because of the risks of meeting strangers. Everloop has designed its service to abide by child safety laws, making a safe place for tweens ages eight to 13 to hang out together. Hilary DeCesare, chief executive, refers to it as a “Facebook for kids.” It lets members customize their profiles, chat with each other, upload photos and videos, watch a web video series or play from a catalog of 1,500 online games. At the same time, the service has a Privacy Panel for parents to monitor kids activities and enable the service to meet the rules of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Brands can advertise within the site, but Everloop evaluates each submission.
7. Widgetbox – ClickTurn Ad Builder, marrying rich media with banner ads — The boring banner ad box is rapidly being replaced by real-time rich media ads which feature two-way communication such as Twitter feeds or YouTube videos where you can leave comments. But only one out of eight advertisers can afford the time, money and effort that it takes to build these rich media ads. Widgetbox’s ClickTurn Ad Builder automates the process, enabling just about anyone to create a rich media ad within a matter of minutes. Using a template, you can drag and drop media into an ad and then start a brand new ad campaign that you can track from start to finish.
8. Hillcrest Labs — Kylo web-based TV browser — Hillcrest Labs has created the Kylo browser to run on any Mac or PC so that it is easier for people to browse through web video on their TV screens. Kylo is meant for viewing at a distance and it gets rid of the need to enter unwield URLs for web sites. You can easily navigate through aggregated web video collections on a variety of video services, but you can also access the larger Internet as a whole. So this is a way to get a lot more video and pay less for it than subscribing to cable. It also has a Loop pointer which goes with the browser, but will also work with a regular mouse. Hulu gave the company a lot of publicity when it decided to block the Kylo browser.
9. Bloson – web site that combines philanthropy and e-commerce — One of the most promising aspects of this year’s DEMO conference is the number of companies geared toward doing something good for the world. Another example, KarmaKorn, one of the AlphaPitch companies had a similar bent, namely changing the way we think about giving to charity or supporting causes. But Bloson stands out because its model allows people to make a difference by using the web exactly as they always have. Once you join the Bloson network, you simply go about your business sharing videos, songs and blog posts with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network, or buying things on e-commerce sites. For every action you take, you earn points toward a particular cause of your choice — the site lists 15 different causes point to organizations that support animal rights, women’s rights and gay and lesbian issues, to name a few. Every quarter, the Bloson team totals the points for each cause, and divides a certain amount of money between them, proportional to the number of points they earned. It’s engagement with social networking habits, and unique approach to philanthropy set it apart, and could eventually change the way we think about doing good in the world.
10. Nyoombl — Greypfroot video conferencing on your TV — This company’s goal is to make video conferencing simple on your TV. Its Greypfroot device connects to your TV and enable video chat with other Greypfroot users via a broadband connection. You can click to call someone and answer an incoming call with the click of a mouse as well. You can also talk to Gmail users on PCs and Macs with Google voice and Google chat installed. Competitors include rivals such as Skype, whose video call service will be available on some models of TVs soon. Nyoombl says its device will work on standard TVs as well as high-definition TVs and support a number of resolutions.
Do you think we got it wrong? Please vote in our poll below. The top 10 choices are listed in order, and the rest are in a random listing.

What is your favorite DEMOspring10 company?survey

Tags: DemoBeat, DEMOSpring10

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