At the Gartner Symposium yesterday, Gartner Group ran their first ever Cool Vendor Shorts program, for up and coming companies highlighted in their annual Cool Vendor Report. According to the analysts who authored the report, Cool Vendors are innovative, impactful, intriguing.
The format of the two panels was a series of 10 minute presentations by the vendors, followed by a short audience Q&A for the panel.
iotum was on the first part of the program. I gave a quick presentation on New Presence, a video demo of Talk-Now, and announced our new relationship with JAJAH. Judging by the number of BlackBerry users in the audience, and the surge in sign-ups for Talk-Now yesterday, I’d say that the presentation was impactful.
The other presenters on my panel were:
- GeoVector, who has probably the most advanced location services I’ve ever seen. Their concept is pretty simple to understand — browse the physical world using your cellular phone as a virtual “mouse” to point at, and click-upon physical objects. Need a restaurant menu? Point your phone at the restaurant and click. It will appear on the screen. The technology is a hit in Japan, where it’s been deployed, and reportedly several North American carriers are looking at supporting the compass and GPS enabled phones it requires.
- VoiceBox, who ship a very sophisticated speech recognition system, capable of understanding context and grammar. Targeted at mobile and infotainment applications, the demo was mindblowingly impressive. The only way to really get a flavor for what they can do is to visit their website and watch one of the video demos on the front page.
- RingCube/MojoPac, which has a downloadable piece of software that will allow you to carry your desktop anywhere with you on any piece of storage. Plug the storage device into a PC, and you can access your files and your environment, directly. Very cool.
The second session had five additional presenters:
- me.dium, a system for combining social data with search information. The core idea is that you can get more relevant search results by collaborating with people in your network who are searching for the same or similar things. The concept reminds me of now defunct OpenCola, or more recently Tacit’s illumio, but augmented with a rich user interface and more tightly integrated with a web searching metaphor.
- Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service. With Hitwise you can monitor a worldwide sample of 10 million Internet users, broken out by demographic, business and a whole whack more statistics. If you want to take your Internet tracking beyond just site tracking, the Hitwise team look like they have it covered.
- Fulton Innovation… blew everyone away. Imagine a universal power adaptor capable of providing the watts of power that a cellular phone requires, or the kilowatts necessary to cook food on an electric frypan. Now imagine that that power is available wirelessly. That’s right. Put your phone down in the charge chamber on the dashboard of your car, and it will charge, right in front of your eyes. Or, put it on the kitchen counter alongside the blender and the frypan (all powered by the same technology) and it will power there. Lightbulbs, cellphones, appliances… all powered wirelessly. Oh yeah… the wireless power also doubles as a network, so you can be downloading songs to your iPod, for example, while it’s charging, playing and sitting on the kitchen counter. See the video here.
- Sonar6 had a slick talent management system that made it possible for managers to assess the health of their organization, and created a visual language for describing the talent in the organization to other managers. It’s a clear step forward from other systems I’ve seen like this.
- And lastly Cogneto had a terrificly interesting biometric system that works on the premise that your mind and your thoughts are the best biometrics. By answering some simple questions (and observing how you behave answering the questions) the Cogneto’s Unomi system authenticates users quickly (and makes the process fun) without the need for retina or fingerprint scanners.