DEMOfall Crowns Two Worthy Winners

I'm jetting home from DEMOfall 09 (on a Wi-Fi enabled plane-God bless Virgin America). The show ended with an awards ceremony that included best-of-show honors for the conference's best consumer-oriented product and best business-related one, as judged by a panel of experts. (Each company got $500,000 worth of advertising at publications and sites owned by my former employer, IDG, as well as DEMO producer Matt Marshall's VentureBeat.)

I didn't get to chime in, but if I had, I might have voted for the two products that won. The consumer champ is Emo Labs' invisible speakers, which I've been raving about since I heard them back in January. And the other is a nifty-looking item I haven't written about yet: Liaise, an add-in for Outlook that examines your emails and automatically and intelligently creates sharable action items based on the information it finds. (I love the idea, but it's so wildly ambitious that I need to see more than canned demos before I can give it an unqualified thumbs up-even so, I'm already hoping it'll come to Gmail.)

Emo's technology may not show up in flat-panel TVs until 2010's holiday season, where it'll probably add 10-15% to the cost of the set over more mundane speakers; Liaise is in private beta and should be available soon for under $10 a month. Both are clever ideas that stood among the crowd of around 70 exhibiting companies-almost all of the rest of which involved Web-based services and/or iPhone apps.

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