High-tech executives from more than 600 companies will flock to Southern California next week to demonstrate their products in the desert sun.
As one might expect, Internet business applications and services will play a big role at this year's Demo Conference near Palm Springs, with companies such as HotOffice Technologies, Wallop Software, and Intelligent Interactions all debuting products aimed at corporate intranet users.
Demo is billed as a more sophisticated cousin to the circus-like atmosphere of Comdex and other trade shows, where journalists can rub elbows with the likes of Sun Microsystems chief technology officer Eric Schmidt or Intuit CEO Scott Cook. The conference also has a tradition of giving small companies a chance to share the limelight with heavyweights such as Microsoft and IBM. This year will be no exception.
One little-known company, HotOffice Technologies, will debut a service of the same name that allows small businesses to set up an intranet without having to manage a network of its own, according to sources. For $24.95 per user per month, a company will be able to rent space for its intranet on a remote server, allowing mobile and office users to dial in to check email or access company information. Users will need to pay an additional fee to their Internet service provider for dial-up or dedicated Internet access.
HotOffice will differ from traditional Web hosting services in that users can designate certain pages for public or private access, while most hosted pages are for public access only. HotOffice Technologies has struck a deal with BBN Planet and another company to provide the hosting services for HotOffice, sources said. The service will be available in the second quarter.
Another company, Intelligent Interactions, will introduce a product, code-named Einstein, for managing advertisements on Web sites. The product will handle ad banner rotation, data and frequency controls, impression and click-through tracking, and ad positioning. Einstein is currently in beta testing and will ship in early April.
Wallop Software will ship Build-IT for Business Users, a more limited version of its Build-IT for Enterprise Web development tool. Unlike its Enterprise product, Build-IT for Business Users lets developers assemble software components on Web pages, but not deploy them, leaving that task for Webmasters. The product will sell for $495 per user.
Also at Demo next week, AT&T Wireless Services is expected to make an announcement related to its PocketNet mobile phone and Internet access device. A company spokeswoman declined to comment in advance of the announcement.
VXtreme will announce a new version of its video streaming software Web Theater 2. Aimed more at the business than consumer video market, Web Theater 2 offers better video quality thanks to an improved compression-decompression algorithm. It also can display larger video windows so that a user with a modem connection can receive 320-by-240 video at 10 to 15 frames per second.
VXtreme's product comes with a new live broadcast capability called LiveStation, which allows video to be compressed and delivered to users in real time. The entire Web Theater 2 product family--Server, Producer, LiveStation, and Client--is in beta testing and will ship at the end of February. The product starts at $1,995.