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In Pictures: 15 can't-miss products at DEMO Fall 2014

Startups flock to DEMO with stand-out products.

  • DEMO Fall 2014 DEMO has served as a launching pad for startups that have gone on to become some of the world’s biggest companies, from Netscape Navigator and TiVo to VMware and Salesforce.com. With DEMO Fall 2014 set to kick off today, here are 15 new products to check out.

  • MakeTime Helping to bridge the gap between those with designs for hardware products and those with the tools to make them, MakeTime is essentially an online marketplace for the two sides to find mutually beneficial agreements. On MakeTime, a machine shop looking to increase its workload could connect with a startup or designer who needs to produce an order of their products but doesn’t have the resources at hand to develop it.

  • Curb Through a combination of sensors deployed throughout the user’s home, a cloud analytics suite, and a mobile app, Curb essentially provides a dashboard showing real-time energy efficiency. Considering how many more devices are entering the average home – from smartphones and tablets that need to be charged to smart connected appliances – tools like Curb could be very useful for keeping utility bills within a budget.

  • Valet Anywhere With a pretty self-explanatory name, Valet Anywhere provides an on-demand valet parking service for drivers in New York City. The service relies on an Uber-esque app to provide a location where Valet Anywhere will send a driver to pick up the car. From there, they bring it to private lots in less-congested areas, and bring it back to the return location set by the user. Rates seem pretty reasonable relative to valet parking in Manhattan – no more than $6 per hour, no more than $42 for a day – and could be a godsend to those running late for a job interview or important meeting.

  • Student Loan Benefits Confronting the reality of massive student loan debt among those in the workforce, Student Loan Benefits offers a unique approach that both extends assistance to debtors and helps employers attract and retain top talent. Companies that use Student Loan Benefits can offer employees a customized plan to pay off their student debt more efficiently. The plan can be coordinated through the company’s payroll system to work automatically with their regular pay, and offers companies the option to match monthly payments toward their loan, the same way companies match employee contributions to 401k retirement plans. Considering how many jobseekers are burdened with student debt, this kind of approach could help attract and retain valuable employees.

  • Top Flight Technologies' Airborg Hybrid Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as "drones," become more valuable for business and research purposes as they become more capable. At DEMO, Top Flight Technologies is introducing a Hybrid Electric Propulsion technology that aims to significantly improve battery life for small UAVs. The company claims its power system is a 50% improvement on fuel cell technology and offers eight times the energy density of Lithium batteries.

  • Skillpocket Skillpocket seems like a combination social media and job search site designed for freelancers and experts to find temporary work. Those who need a one-time or freelance hire to complete certain projects can browse Skillpocket and view potential candidates’ profiles to see their experience in the field and what kind of fees they charge. A lot of services offer access to freelancers – Craigslist remains popular for this purpose – but Skillpocket does have a nice design, and its detailed profiles could help those seeking a new hire to find a qualified candidate more quickly.

  • Iota Equipment Tracker Iotera will introduce the Iota Equipment Tracker, a small, 43x22x11 millimeter device that essentially provides real-time location monitoring for anything attached to it. The device comes equipped with GPS, an accelerometer, a thermometer, Bluetooth compatibility, a speaker, and long-range radio. Some use cases the company has cited include monitoring temperature for dogs while they wait in a car and attaching the device to a mailbox to notify a smartphone when it’s been opened. The Iota home base device projects a four-mile coverage area to monitor the devices, and can extend to use home base coverage areas of other Iota users as well.

  • Bluvision's BluFi beacons Using Bluetooth Low Energy, beacons send signals to users' smartphones and can provide information to their devices, such as directions inside large venues or promotions for retail stores. The catch is that those smartphones need to be running a specific mobile app in order to get any information from the beacon. Bluvision's BluFi beacons incorporate Wi-Fi into the hardware to identify beacon-enabled mobile devices within the Wi-Fi range, without relying on a mobile app deployed on the users' devices.

  • Hellobit Hellobit takes an interesting approach to transferring money, relying on the extensive international Bitcoin community to help one person get cash to another. Say you’re stranded somewhere without your wallet. You call a friend and ask them to transfer you money. That friend uses Hellobit to send out a request for a cash-for-Bitcoin exchange in the area where you’re located. If someone nearby accepts the transfer, you meet them in person with a one-time QR code for a Bitcoin transaction, which that person can scan on a smartphone in exchange for cash.

  • Measurence Insights: Analytics Measurence’s in-store analytics system applies principles of ecommerce website design to help retailers maximize sales in brick-and-mortar stores. Using beacons and Wi-Fi sensors, Measurence recognizes the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth MAC addresses of shoppers’ smartphones while they’re in the store and analyzes customer behavior to give retailers and small businesses a better idea of how their customers interact within their shops. Given that its product discretely interacts with customers’ smartphones, the company also appears to have taken extensive privacy measures, an important precaution to help win over businesses that might be skeptical.

  • GlanceAt A remedy for email fatigue, GlanceAt automates much of the process of responding to messages. When the user receives an email, GlanceAt sends a smartphone notification that provides the message’s most important information – say, a request to meet on a specific day that might be buried two paragraphs into the message. GlanceAt then syncs with the user’s calendar app and automatically suggests responses. If, for example, the user is busy at the day and time requested, GlanceAt will craft a message saying so and provides the user a direct link to a calendar to choose open time slots to send back. GlanceAt also provides access to recently accessed files that can be attached to messages quickly.

  • MeshMe MeshMe turns to mesh networking, the peer-to-peer networking method that recently gained attention for helping Hong Kong protesters organize amid cell service blackouts, for a location sharing application that could be useful in situations where internet or cell service is limited.

  • LikeAGlove Smart Garments One of the obstacles to online shopping is the inability to see how clothes would fit before buying them. Some have tried to alleviate this issue through webcams and augmented reality apps, but that also involves capturing and possibly sharing personal photos. LikeAGlove turns to “Smart Garments,” or smart fabric wearables, that tell users what sizes they should buy when shopping online.

  • Brand V02 As social media grows, so does the amount of data that businesses can use from it. But this massive amount of data is only valuable if businesses can make sense of it. At DEMO, Brand VO2 will showcase its Brand Health platform designed to filter the constant stream of brand-related data created on the web and provide insight into how businesses can use it.

  • Celect A product that has been years in the making, Celect comes from MIT researchers who have developed algorithms for comparative ranking – in which a user chooses one option over another, as opposed to a five-star rating. Looking at the data created when customers choose certain products, the Celect platform aims to provide guidance to retailers on how to best organize and promote all of their products to increase their visibility to the customers interested in them.

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