At the nexus of Next Big Things

I recently attended the Demo ’06 show in Phoenix and, while the show is hosted by Network World, I can honestly say it is one of the most exciting industry events I know. What Demo shows is that innovation is alive and well. Given that most of the 700 attendees were venture capitalists, it also shows there’s money out there looking for the Next Big Thing.

What kind of things? Well, developments in technologies and products.

At Demo there were two panels that addressed Next Big Thing technologies: Computational biology, which involves a range of topics centred around the intersection of computing as applied to genomics; and the Future of security, which looked at the challenges in an increasingly connected and complex networked environment.

The latter panel was anything but good news, with Hilarie Orman, CTO and vice-president of engineering at Shinkuro, summing up the current situation by saying, “The state of security is dismal, absolutely abysmal.”

The panel on computational biology was more uplifting with a lot of enthusiastic discussion about the effect of personalized medicine and the enormity of the tasks of calculating protein folding and virtual biology.

In terms of Next Big Thing products, a few demonstrations at the show have the potential to make an impact on how we do IT in the next two or three years.

One of my favourites was IPswap, described as “a global marketplace that allows people to share, interact, solve problems and create new solutions.” IPswap is intended to make it possible for people who want software and people who make software to find each other and negotiate terms of engagement not only over price but also over royalties.

Another company with an interesting idea was Krugle. It offers a specialized search engine for easily finding open source code and related technical information.

Avokia was at Demo showing ApLive, a product that maximizes database availability by virtualizing the data layer to support real-time transaction replication and load balancing across multiple active synchronized databases.

One of my top picks of the show was another database-related solution from Panoratio Database Images. Panoratio’s products, .pdi Generator and .pdi Explorer, let you, respectively, take a highly compressed snapshot of a database and then view it.

Compression is achieved by applying several algorithms to data sets of as many as 2,000 dimensions with as many as 100 million rows. The result is a static database between 30 and 1,000 times smaller than the original that can be stored in memory and searched quickly.

Just imagine being able to distribute gonzo databases to the people who need them and not having to offer real-time access for anything but current data.

The Next Big Things are out there, rushing towards us, and Demo is the place to find them.

QuickLink: 068098

–What do you think the Next Big Thing will be? Share your predicttions with[email protected].

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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