DigiMarc, based in Tualatin, Ore., is one of the very few publicly held companies presenting at the conference. The company may have come up with one of the first useful applications for the camera phone. It works like this–a user takes a snapshot of a print advertisement, which has been embedded with a digital watermark. The camera phone processes the information in the ad say, for a new movie, and wirelessly retrieves information about the ad. A user can then watch a trailer for the movie, read reviews or buy tickets all from the camera phone.
Vazu, based in Palo Alto Calif., is solving a problem that every mobile phone user can relate to–how to quickly and easily transfer data from PC to a phone. Using its free application, users highlight text (directions, movie times, etc.) and send to their phone. Vazu also automatically highlights phone numbers on a Web page, which users can simply send to their cell phone address book.
David Hornik has more:
Chris Shipley, the Executive Producer of DemoMobile, started out the conference with a mea culpa. Last year at DemoMobile, Chris welcomed the dawn of the age of “Device Computing.” She contended at the time that computing was moving to the edge of the network where it would hereafter be resident in smart devices. It was a reasonable conclusion to come to. Devices like the Treo 600 were emerging and starting to crack the code on mobile computing.
That said, Chris has changed her mind. On closer inspection, she has determined that we are, in fact, in the age of “Service-Based Computing.” In Service Based Computing, devices are not the brains of the operation. They are just pretty little end nodes on a smart data network. The real horsepower is going to be delivered in the network through managed services. And that’s not just for consumer services. ASPs like Salesforce and QuickBooks Online, for example, demonstrate that, as Chris put it, “the future model for nearly all computing” is service based. I could not agree with her more. Fat pipes and elegant devices make it possible to deliver immense services to the edge of the network but the real work is going to get done in the network, not the device. The result, Chris concluded, is that devices and the services that work on them are going to have to “simply work and work simply.”
I believe purpose built hardware and services (like those demoed) will fail. The thing that is exciting to me about the increasing power of wireless devices and the increasingly thick wireless pipe is that these devices will become full-featured, general-purpose computers. While I agree with Chris that the future is in the services delivered over the network, that future will be about any device accessing any service, not about specific devices accessing specific services.