Bad Tech Demos
1:10 PM -- From The Philter's Lists of Lists file, here are my Top Five Technology Demos that I hope I don't have to see in 2007:
5. VOIP Calls While Inside a Tradeshow Booth
Can anyone tell me why so many companies think they're showing you something cool by letting you pick up a phone on one side of a tradeshow booth and talk to someone who's -- gasp! -- all of 11 feet away and looking right at you?
4. Buying Stuff Online Using the TV
A staple of the generic IPTV demo is to show folks that they can click on, say, Danny DeVito's sweater and buy that same type of sweater somewhere on the Internet. This may actually be a boon to e-commerce or something, but it's still not as impressive as watching some spare author, cook, or faith healer absolutely hawk their ass off on QVC. Danny DeVito's sweater wouldn't fit me anyway.
3. Anything Involving Billing, OSS, and Back Office Software
Seriously, just explain it to me and I'll believe you. Watching you fill out a form or drag and drop a little router icon into a little yellow folder does absolutely nothing for me. I'd even prefer PowerPoint slides to this kind of demo. There, I said it.
2. Replicating an End-to-End Network in a Tradeshow Booth
Again, this falls into the "Just Explain It and I'll Believe You" bucket. Why go through the hassle of coiling 80 miles of fiber and anchoring your booth with core routers just so I can watch what amounts to a DVD copy of Spiderman 2?
Telco TV demos just aren't the same as gaming demos. People want to participate in games. Watching TV is just watching TV -- even if you did send it as an MPEG-4 file over a P2P network with real-time QOS and a side order of fries.
1. Caller ID on the Television
I know this is one of the killer apps for IPTV right now, but trust me, it's not that exciting. Anyone with a satellite dish receiver hooked up to a phoneline has been able to replicate this little breakthrough since the early 1990s. I know the two-way interactivity of IPTV is something special, but to prove that point, telcos need to do more than show me how to dodge my mother-in-law's calls.
Another thing: I know some folks who have caller ID on the TV. I've watched them when they get a call and they look at the phone anyway. Why is that?
— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading