Even thought I wasn’t able to attend this years Demo conference in Palm Desert, CA (which looks pretty good right now with our wind-chill this morning adding up to a balmy -27 degrees Celcius!).

This year since I wasn’t able to attend I got online and used the live stream and facebook integration to see the presenters and get a real sense from the chatter on the facebook widget, what people thought of the presentations. As usual my hunches were right! There were a few demos that stood out for their value propositions (that is their approach to solve a customer pain point), and some which were not so good. Sometimes its just the presenter which is awkward; sometimes the product/service is something that you’d question the need for;  often a combination of both.

I always like this conference as the pace and structure is different from most that you attend. It goes like this: there are sometimes 80 presenters over the 2 day event and each presenter gets 6 minutes on stage in front of all of the conference attendees to explain their product/service and demonstrate how it works. Hence the name “Demo.”

This year it seemed like the energy level was a bit low compared to my previous visits and I won’t ascribe that to the economy, but maybe to the fact that Demo creator Chris Shipley is passing on the reins after this conference to Matt Marshall, co-executive producer.

Here is a quick rundown on the morning’s sessions-

Pixetel- adds voice and video interactivity to emails, plays in any browser. Users can also send as secure links / email. You can verbally and visually explain spreadsheets, drawings, designs, proposals… anything on your screen. This was something that people online in the chat seemed to think was interesting and even though has been done in other applications, its good to see it brought to email

Rallypoint – End-end Enterprise crisis management platform, but through the demo, didn’t really get a clear sense of the service until almost the end of the presentation.

Vokle-  This company’s service is about adding live communications to the web. It adds an ability to discuss news/submissions live sort of like a video chat room. [Might be good for an enterprise?]

Gwabbit- We’ve all been there: cutting and pasting each line of a signature in an email to put into your address book. This service scans emails and moves contact info to address book with a single click, but isn’t this more of a feature than a service? Shouldn’t Microsoft buy them?

CC:Betty- In an interesting approach to bringing some more innovation to the email application (since Gmail who has really changed the paradigm?) This service brings content and items from email to web interface (They called it Facebook for email). I think this could be a great app from a network point of view.

Citrix-“GoView” – This company wants to make screen recordings so simple your mother could use the service. (Why is everyone so disparaging of mothers?) Its still not that simple to use. My mom would have walked away long ago.

Zuora-  There are lots of Facebook apps and lots of Developers and the “Z-commerce platform” allows them to monetize their apps. But I guess the question is, how many people would want to pay for the apps?

Document Depository Corp –  This application is all about managing important documents like Corporate Governance and legal processes. Important for sure, but didn’t get a sense of excitement from the demo.

Home accounts – If consumers had this service before the credit crisis, maybe we wouldn’t be in such a state now. It gives applicants a sense of the most appropriate (re: money saving)  mortgage for their situation. They are independent and not funded by the banks so can give (hopefully) less biased advice.

Zipadi- A publishing platform to convert paper catalogue to ecommerce site. Hmm, hasn’t this been done before?

7billion people- (weblegend) person sales tactics; can change tactics in real time. Click stream based analysis of behaviour and site customization. Neat and they demo’d using the Amazon site even though Amazon is not their customer. [How’d they do that?]

Liquid media-personalize advertising not sure how it works- is it voice mail only?

So a full slate in the morning and I will try to get a handle on the afternoon sessions as well.