This afternoon's Demo demonstrations focused on the enterprise. Sound like a yawn? A little. But consider the two main goals of the presenters (as I see it, anyway): making life easier and controlling/corralling/otherwise tracking human behavior. I'm not so sure these two goals can coexist. Take the following demonstrations.
Trimergent Personal Information Networks, with perhaps the most boring name ever, at first seems like just another desktop search product like Google's. But it does a little more: It also searches and aggregates corporate databases, streaming media, and e-mail (of course) on one screen. Now, here's the cool part: you can capture that screen and those links, then e-mail them to friends or colleagues, who can then see the same screen. The goal here is to create a more seamless search environment for corporations, but since this product is still in beta, I'm wondering if it won't find its way into the public space. I'd love it for my personal life, too.
On the other hand, take a product with the code name Workshare "Hygiene." Built for large corporations, this software watches all documents on an enterprise network and actually prevents users who aren't approved from e-mailing out--or even saving to a keychain drive--documents deemed too sensitive to leave the building, so to speak. Of course, compliance departments will love this. But it's not going to make the free flow of information easy, à la the above-named Trimergent software.
Even creepier/cooler, take the final product of the day, Eschelon Corp's Pyxos Embedded Control Networking Platform. Another dry name, but this sensor-tracking technology comes to live in the "smart carpet," which tracks movement. This carpet can alert a central control to thieves and potential accidents, as well as light up when pedestrians walk on it. Hello, 1984.
The Demo stage introduced a number of other products for enterprises--most intended to control or at least better aggregate documents and information. Weirdly, they were almost all software based. Not a gadget in sight. We'll see tomorrow whether the trend continues. Check back then.