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Bad Tech Demos

Phil Harvey
12/26/2006

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

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DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 3:31:36 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
anyone else got a demo they're dying not to see?
sfwriter
sfwriter
12/5/2012 | 3:31:35 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
For me, it's time travel. But somehow I don't expect to see it at Super-Global-Whatever-it-is-Com.
DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 3:31:35 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
Telepresence. Only because I'm always trying to be two places at once.
sfwriter
sfwriter
12/5/2012 | 3:31:35 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
Has there ever been a demo you've been dying to see?
DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 3:31:34 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
re: IPTV channel change.

I know. How many more times can I say, "Yeah, that was fast. You're right. Very fast. Uh, huh. Super fast, indeed."

ph
sfwriter
sfwriter
12/5/2012 | 3:31:34 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
My demo pet-peeve is sitting through the same demo more than once. Citrix is really good at this, contacting me every 3 months, touting "new features" in its collaboration software that really don't warrant 30 minutes of my time.

I've also sat in the same windowless cubicle at trade shows watching Microsoft's IPTV box change channels instantly more than once.

Really, once is more than enough.
DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 3:31:34 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
Time shifting, maybe. Probably not time travel.

ph
chip_mate
chip_mate
12/5/2012 | 3:31:33 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
Time shifting, maybe. Probably not time travel.

ph



Watch what you say Phil, don't want the folks at Tivo suing you like they did Echostar...!
Pete Baldwin
Pete Baldwin
12/5/2012 | 3:31:32 AM
re: Bad Tech Demos
> Telepresence. Only because I'm always trying to be two places at once.

The Cisco Telepresence demo was honestly interesting. Like a lot of demos, you get the point within about 10 seconds, but it might be worth sticking around to gauge your own psychological reaction. For the first couple of minutes, I had trouble looking directly at the folks on the screen -- it felt awkward, even though in a real conversation, that wouldn't be the case. Interesting stuff.
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