By Michael J. Miller | Apr 23, 2012 10:21 AM EST | PCMag.com
Every time I go to one of the Demo conferences, I come away somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of new products introduced. While many of these products look impressive, I always try to narrow it down to a couple of favorites. Here's what stood out the most to me at this year's show:
It may be that I'm just particularly interested in big applications, but two applications that really attracted my attention are designed for speeding up complex data issues. Fusion-io and Citrusleaf showed amazing performance by combining Citrusleaf's noSQL database and Fusion-io's software development kit for tuning applications to run on NAND flash storage instead of hard drives. The companies say this kind of application, aimed initially at doing analysis of huge amounts of information, can use five times less DRAM, two times less wear, and two times less storage, enabling the application to provide faster performance on fewer servers. Citrusleaf said this kind of application is in place at AppNexus, one of the largest Internet ad exchanges, and also makes sense in markets ranging from gaming to financial services.
Another "big data" solution came from Hazelcast, which has an open source in-memory database designed for distributing information across dozens or hundreds of servers. The demo created a Twitter clone application that stored its tweets across a grid of Hazelcast servers in a distributed cluster. Then, one of the servers was disconnected and the software redistributed the data among the remaining ones. Hazelcast is already being used by five of the top 10 banks. Although I can't compare this to other in-memory databases, based on just a quick demo, I'm very intrigued by the concept of distributed in-memory databases and this looked quite good.
Dozuki is a cloud-based system for publishing step-by-step manuals online from the folks of iFixit. The software looks easy to use and I very much like the look of the finished online manuals.
BizSlate ERP is offering a very interesting take on handling orders for a small business, as part of an online business management system. It showed several features that should make it easier to handle lots of orders, which a small business could find very useful. It's not really a full-blown ERP (as it still uses QuickBooks online for general ledger features), but it's a very interesting concept.
I was also impressed by Koemei, which offers automatic transcription of audio and video at a large scale, with lots of tools for editing the transcript (since these products are still far from perfect). My guess is this makes more sense for vertical markets than the broad consumer market, and it too faces lots of competition, but is still quite intriguing.
Speaking of audio, the voice conferencing solution from Voxeet looks quite good and sounds even better, though I'm not sure people want another application just for voice conference calls.
For schools, I can see a real attraction to Interphase's Penveu, an interactive pen that is designed as an alternative to interactive whiteboards. It's a much less expensive solution than many of the current solutions and looks quite interesting.
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