DEMO - 70 companies hope to please venture capitalists

Consumer, enterprise, and enabling technologies demonstrated for the first time at the annual show

The annual Demo 2007 conference in Palm Desert, California, this week will lay bare for an audience of venture capitalists the results of thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears on the part of hardware and software engineers.

In the hopes of attracting investment dollars, this year's event will see 70 companies get 6 minutes each on stage to strut their high-tech stuff.

Here's a quick look at a handful of presenters from A to Z.

But in high tech numbers always come first.

6th Sense Analytics will unveil a data-collection platform for measuring unstructured processes. In its first implementation the technology is targeted at monitoring and measuring software development projects, on or offshore.

With Eclipse as the backbone for most Java development, 6th Sense taps into the infrastructure of all development technologies that plug into Eclipse to give managers an inside look at the status of a project.

"A project manager in the U.S. can now know when an offshore developer has instantiated the debugger or when they are editing the file. The system monitors files by checking byte count," said Greg Burnell, co-founder and CEO.

By monitoring sign-in and sign-out times in context, an Active Time feature measures the amount of time spent actively developing software in such contexts as modeling, UML design, and testing.

Burnell said 6th Sense is perfect for monitoring offshore developers because it insulates managers from cultural differences.

"The neat thing is it is an empirical method, so an hour of active time in China is the same as in the U.S. or India," Burnell said.

A is for Adobe Systems, and for those who spend more time online than off but who always worry about getting disconnected, Adobe will officially unveil Apollo, a not-very-well-kept secret project that takes RIA (Rich Internet Applications) and puts them back on the desktop.

The Apollo platform will offer nervous users the reassurance of desktop storage and desktop performance, overcoming, Adobe officials claim, "the constraints of a browser."

While most companies presenting at Demo have as their market segment either consumer or enterprise, Devicescape Software offers a technology that straddles both markets.

Devicescape will introduce what it calls a "trick" technology to ease access to Wi-Fi hot spots by logging the user on to the network before they actually log on.

Part of what Glenn Flinchbaugh, vice president of products calls, "the secret sauce" is a technology that can get users on to almost any network without being authenticated onto that network.

"We have a trick that lets us go over the network before we are logged in," Flinchbaugh said.

When a user attempts to gain access to a hotspot, such as one managed by T-Mobile, the device sends an alert or signal to the Devicescape server identifying itself and telling the server what network it is trying to gain access to.

The Devicescape server sends a signal back that includes the data on user name, password and instruction on how to navigate the log in procedures.

The server currently has in its database about 30 major networks and the log-in procedures and is constantly adding new networks to the database.

Flinchbaugh said that while the small amount of information about the hotspot operator's network would not allow a user to log in and surf the Web there is enough information to configure the device to the hot spot.

And, Flinchbaugh added, "if they [the operators] block us it will affect all of their customers."

The technology will be available for free download as well as licensed to device vendors and chip manufacturers.

Carrying the concept of distributed applications where no software has gone before, DARTdevices will allow developers to create a single application that can use the unique resources of multiple devices.

Put the Dart Player on multiple devices and they all become one virtual device, according to Rich Mirabella, CEO. The Player exposes the devices content, programs and resources and any application written to the Player platform will run as if it is on one device.

"The applications spread and configure themselves," Mirabella said.

Using a technology called Renditions, the single application can also adapt to various screen sizes, dot pitch, keyboard, and other usability factors.

Because a Dart Player-enabled application can directly see all the hardware capabilities when executing any software feature it can decide which device has the fastest processor or which device has built in GPS and use those device to complete a task.

Finally, for those who spend most of their time online and want to keep it that way, Zoho Notebook will introduce yet another online desktop software suite. But this time the Web 2.0 Office-like suite that includes a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation application will also add business solutions to the mix with CRM and project management, plus wiki applications for collaboration.

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Ephraim Schwartz

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