Demo 2008 focuses on video

This year's semi-annual event will take a major look at video content delivery as companies show off new methods and analytics

With the new year comes new products, and as it is every year, many of them will be showed off at the semi-annual Demo conference, held this year in Palm Desert, Calif.

Twice a year, Demo witnesses a gathering of VCs and corporate high-tech investors who watch as demonstrators are given six minutes each to present what they hope will be evaluated as breakthrough technology worth investing in.

Every instance of Demo seems to bring with it a new product focus, and at Demo 2008, the hands-down winner is video products.

Visible Measures has a technology, Visible Suite, that leverages the phenomenal growth of Internet video and attempts to make sense of audience behavior while watching videos. The on-demand service integrates with an Internet site's video player. Matt Cutler, vice president of marketing at Visible Measures says "view counts alone are not enough." Rather, VisibleSuite captures all video interactions, including play, pause, rewind, fast-forward, and forward to a friend.

One unique feature of the technology is its ability to capture what Cutler calls "hot spots," places in the video where users keep returning to. "The hot spots are reflective of the interest of the audience," said Cutler.

While Visible Measures captures the data, sometimes it is up to the client to understand why a particular hot spot is of high interest. For example, at StreetFire.net, users kept returning to a car that was only revving its engine. To the uninitiated, there may be nothing unusual to the sound of a revving engine, but an enthusiast will notice where "a guy blows a header," said Cutler.

While delivering stats on viewers is in the first rollout of the product, Cutler said Visible Measures will be also partnering with demographics companies to add more data about viewers.

Meanwhile, Vidyo introduces VidyoConferencing, which has the unique differentiator of being able to broadcast high-definition video over standard IP networks. In each instance of a broadcast, an end point will display the highest-quality video it is capable of handling. The ability to scale video performance based on the end point is achieved through a relatively new technology called H.264/SVC (Scalable Video Coding) that compresses and distributes the video stream.

BitGravity also claims to send broadcast-quality video over the Internet. BG LiveBroadcast is based on Flash and is a streaming service that will be marketed to video content providers. According to Perry Wu, CEO and co-founder, BitGravity built a network for delivery of content that will rival cable and satellite and help make the Internet the most powerful medium of all for content delivery.

Three months ago, the company launched BitGravity CDN (Content Delivery Network) to deliver video. Now it is introducing BG LiveBroadcast for delivery of live video content. The system is able to encode video in real time, get it on the network, broadcast and deliver it to desktops with clear, crisp video at a high data rate, said Wu. "Performance will rival the quality of content on TV, giving the user video that is responsive when a user switches between videos, plays back video, or rewinds," said Wu

Video provider Tube Mogul takes its name from a play on YouTube, but there's a twist to this video content distribution company. TubeMogul users can upload any video to its site and leave the distribution of the video to TubeMogul, which will distribute it to as many video sites as the user designates. Like Visible Measures, the company also uses analytics technology to compile video viewing data from the video publishing sites.

While the TubeMogul site freely distributes video, Liquidus' niche is distribution of commercial advertising video. The company also offers production and placement services on everything from digital cable to standard TV and IPTV. Demo officials called Liquidus "a life raft" for smaller advertisers who would otherwise have trouble competing with the high-quality production values available to major advertisers.

On a more private front, VideoIQ iCVR offers a surveillance camera along with intelligent software that can send alerts to security personnel when the camera identifies unusual behavior. The system also reduces bandwidth usage, said officials.

In all, Demo 2008 will see 78 presenters come on stage in seven separate categories: business hardware, consumer devices, small business software and services, consumer software and services, IT management and services, enterprise software and services, and enabling technology.

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