Demofall to highlight Java wares

More than 50 percent of featured products are based on Java

September 25, 2006—The Demofall show has never had quite the cache of the bigger Demo conference, but it's still a fun time, as startups from across the tech sector give their patented six-minute pitches for why their company's product will change the world.

This year's show will feature 66 companies, with products ranging from core infrastructure to enterprise middleware, security, and mobile and wireless services, said Chris Shipley, executive producer of Demo. "It's a wide-angle lens of what the marketplace is doing now," she said.

Java will be the thread that ties many of the Demo companies together. "Java was launched at Demo more than 10 years ago, and at this year's Demo conference, more than half the products there are all based on Java," said Mark Herring, senior director of Java Brand Marketing at Sun. "Indeed it seems that Java is everywhere and you can't venture out anymore without bumping into Java products and applications. This is no surprise since there are more than 1.2 billion Java-powered phones in addition to the 800 million PCs all running Java. Java is here to stay, and its ability to morph and expand over time is its key to success."

Some of the Java-based offerings include Jajah, Java ME (Java Platform, Mobile Edition) technology that uses VoIP messaging to circumvent long-distance calling charges from cell phones; Simple Star's PhotoShowTV, which provides digital cable subscribers a way to share personal photos and videos on local cable channels to be viewed on demand; and uControl, a home-security service that connects to existing alarm systems and communicates status over three redundant connections to provide always-on connectivity and real-time security.

Also launching next week is 3jam, a group text-messaging service. "Right now, 150 million text messages are sent a day," says Andy Jagoe, CEO and founder of 3jam. "The problem is that you can't send a message to a group of people and have everyone know who got the message and have replies go to everyone. We're doing reply-all text messaging, which unlocks opportunities to communicate that really don't exist today with any other mechanism."

The 3jam service runs entirely over basic text messaging. A user first sends a text message to 3jam so that a temporary text message bridge can be set up for the user and the group of friends she wants to contact. Back on the client, the user types a message, chooses her contacts, and sends the message out. When any of her contacts reply to that message, all can see the message and reply-all back.

3jam is designed for small-group communication, not broadcast messaging. "We see the sweet spot in the three to six [people] range," says Jagoe.

Users can download a Java application to improve the client experience. With this application, users can just click on an icon, type a message, select contacts from their address books, and hit send. Jagoe says 3jam chose Java to develop the client application because it offered a great way to deliver to a large group of users a simple and first-rate user experience.

"3jam is doing more than its share to help grow message traffic," says Chris Shipley, executive producer of Demo. "3jam turns a single SMS message into a multi-user chat channel. The service delivers tremendous convenience—and cost savings—to multi-party messaging, and will no doubt be a boon to the SMS-crazed youth demographic."

Paul Roberts and Paul Krill of InfoWorld contributed to this story.

Jennifer Orr is senior editor at JavaWorld.

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