23 Feb The Tech Market is Looking Up
If the mood of 600+ technology executives, investors, and media is a leading indicator, the technology market is on the rebound. Maybe Homestead CEO Justin Kitch captured it best when he said DEMO 2004 felt “like a bit of the mo’ was back in the good ol’ Internet.”
Kitch’s sentiments were repeated by dozens of attendees who talked to or emailed me during and after the event. There is a feeling in this industry unlike any we’ve felt in the past 36 months. There is energy and excitement and enthusiasm in the marketplace again. But this time, the exuberance is tempered with reality and reason.
There is good reason to be excited by the technology industry today. This industry is strong, and it is poised for new growth fueled by exciting innovation. If you study the market cycles and look at the basic building blocks for product development and company building, it is clear that the fundamentals are in place that will lead to a dynamic, exciting, and innovative marketplace in the years to come.
Companies are moving judiciously into markets, developing products and technologies that are driven by customer need and business requirements. Rather than a rush to market there is a rush to be relevant in the lives of customers. Many of the companies that debuted at DEMO 2004 last week launched with key customers – and purchase orders – in place. These products are stable, refined by in-market experience, and at work in the world.
In turn, these quality products are erasing buyer cynicism borne of too many promises unfulfilled and so little return on boom era investments of time, money, energy, and hope.
Some have argued – as I read in a recent “Always On Network” posting – that the slowdown of the last 36 months has “crushed one entire cycle of innovation.” This could not be further from the truth. Over the past three years, DEMO ushered more than 250 innovative products to market. Today, we’ll add 66 to that number. These products, along with the tempering of entrepreneurs and technology adopters as well, have set the stage for the next wave of computing by creating a broad set of technology commodities and market readiness on which to build new applications and new businesses.
What does this next wave look like? There are clues – plenty of them in the new software, hardware, and components that took center stage at DEMO. But there is no true roadmap. Beyond the promise of Moore’s Law and the laws of physics and economics of volume, there never has been a clear view. Whether the market is riding irrational exuberance or scuttling among the fallout of a bursting bubble, all we can ever do is keep on doing.
Today, after a 36-month beating, this industry is cautiously coming back. Some seem to want strong assurances as to where we are going and what the future holds. But who really knows?
In truth, you are the ones who will move the market forward. You will invent and innovate. You will buy and use new products – or not. Your adoption of technology will encourage or defeat initiatives that explore new concepts enabled by the building blocks that have quietly fallen into place during these last few years. The months ahead hold promise and change – and we can’t really tell what lies ahead. But one thing is clear: The next wave has begun to build. We are at the beginning of a new and exciting phase of innovation that will drive the economic cycles for the next 20 years, just as the PC revolution drove the IT market in the past.
DEMO 2003 Alum VIEO Makes Good
While 66 companies bask in the glow of their new product launches, we look back at a success story from DEMO 2003. One year ago, VIEO captured the attention of the DEMO audience by demonstrating the first appliance to intelligently analyze and monitor application resources in large IT deployments.
Across the past 12 months, VIEO has worked closely with lighthouse customers to get this important product right for the market. Working hand-in-glove with key early deployments, VIEO honed its offering and today is announcing the general availability of the VIEO 1000. The appliance device provides end- to-end monitoring and control of a wide range of heterogeneous IT resources to ensure application service levels. It is this rich, cross-vendor support that sets VIEO apart from more established vendors who talk about application management, but who typically support only their own product offerings.
As importantly, early customer wins have demonstrated that the completely self-discovering approach of the VIEO 1000 means that it can be deployed and deliver real benefit in a matter of hours, a record that can’t be touched by today’s IT configuration management solutions.
This DEMO 2003 alum is already winning praise. InfoWorld magazine named the VIEO 1000 the Best Systems Management Solution. Forrester Research calls it a “dynamo.” And Network World and CRN both called VIEO a top start-up to watch.
We’ve been watching VIEO for more than a year now, and we know that this is one hot company that is very much on the rise. You can catch up with this DEMO 2003 company at http://www.vieo.com.
Editor’s Note: As DEMO makes its march to its 15th anniversary in 2005, DEMOletter will be updating the progress of demonstrating companies from past years’ events.
For an in-depth look at the products unveiled at DEMO 2004, check out coverage by Network World Editors John Cox and Keith Shaw. Cox highlights some of the unique companies cropping up in security, collaboration, management, and wireless LANs. He homes in on Trend Micro, Forum Systems, Reactivity, Imperva, IMlogic, Viack, Consera, Mvalent, and Symbol Technologies. You can read his report at http://www.nwfusion.com/news/2004/0216demo.html… Then continue your DEMO education with Shaw’s daily blog from the show. From his first day at DEMO to the harsh reality of being back in the office, Shaw gives you his impressions of the products and experience he had in Scottsdale. “As I sit back in my office with boxes and papers lying around, the real world has sunk back in a little after the two fun days out at Demo seeing enthusiastic start-ups and cool products. If Demo could take that energy and optimism and bottle it up, it would definitely help us in the industry during some of the down times…” Shaw reports. You can read his entire blog, including a look at who’s trying to challenge Microsoft, at http://napps.nwfusion.com/weblogs/cool/… Finally, veteran DEMO attendee John Patrick and a host of others, including DEMO presenter Mena Trott, offer their take on this year’s conference via their Weblogs posted at http://demo2004.blogs.com/.
Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld’s DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at email@example.com. Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the #1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.
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