INDIAN WELLS, California--The technology elite assembled at the Demo 97 conference here today to show off a mixed bag of Net gadgets, including everything from Net telephones to the latest corporate intranet applications.
Video streaming technologies, which allow users to watch video as it's being downloaded from the Net, were in full force. Progressive Networks announced that it is augmenting its well-known RealAudio audio streaming software to include video capabilities. With its new RealVideo 1.0 client and server software, the company says it can deliver "newscast" quality video over a 28.8-kbps connection and full-motion video over a 56-kbps connection.
Progressive unveiled three new lines of RealAudio and now RealVideo servers: the EasyStart Server for entry users, the Professional Server System for Internet broadcasters, and the Intranet System for corporate users.
EasyStart Servers start at $295 for a RealVideo Server, $295 for RealAudio Server, and $495 for a combined server that delivers up to ten simultaneous streams for both RealAudio and RealVideo.
The Professional Server System line serves both RealAudio and RealVideo content and starts at $4,995; the Intranet System line begins at $4,995 with the Intranet Entry System.
Progressive will be going up against more seasoned video streaming players such as VXtreme, which announced the second revision of its WebTheater family of video products at the conference.
Kodak unveiled a digital video camera that could work with both the WebTheater and RealVideo products. The Kodak Digital Science DVC 300 Digital Video Camera can take still or motion pictures, including live videoconferences. The DVC 300 will support the Universal Serial Bus and the Pentium MMX, two technologies that could boost the performance and quality of video.
And no technology trade show would be complete with out its share of electronic commerce products. VeriFone announced a Personal Automated Teller Machine (ATM), a low-cost, palm-sized device that allows users to download electronic cash onto a smart card. Meanwhile, Wave Systems debuted a prototype of a hardware device that allows Web sites to support microtransactions, or small electronic cash payments. The device is expected to ship this year.
Two companies, Navitel and AT&T Wireless Service, showed off telephones that gives users functions, such as the Internet email traditionally found on PCs. Navitel introduced a $299 version of its TouchPhone, a telephone that runs Microsoft's Windows CE operating system for handheld devices. TouchPhone, due out in the third quarter, comes with email, voice mail, and personal information management capabilities, but not the Web access found in the $499 version of the same device.
AT&T unveiled a service for users of its forthcoming PocketNet phone, a cellular telephone with built-in email and Net access capabilities. For $40 a month, PocketNet users will be able to perform 500K of "data transactions"--including exchanging email and accessing Internet stock quotes and other data--and send 20 fax pages.
Demo also featured a full array of software for building corporate intranets. Netiva Software introduced Netiva, an easy-to-use tool for building Java client and server database applications. The tool will range in price from $399 to $3,000, depending on the number of users. Radnet showed WebShare 2.0, its Web groupware applications, for the first time. WebShare 2.0 offers new features such as replication support for laptops and Java and ActiveX support.
Among the smattering of other products to be announced at Demo this week are the following: