First off, let me recommend Conferenza Premium Reports. It's a very reasonably priced subscription service that provides first hand reports of all the major and not so major conferences. Shel Israel's report on Demo 2005 is comprehensive and excellent.
My list of top demos, extremely briefly
A word about methodology. As I watched the 7 minute demos, I would write 2 or 3 bullets of what struck me, and a grade from A+ to F. Of the 60 or so demos, these rated an A- or better.
- StreamBase - StreamBase Systems. From Michael Stonebreaker, one of great innovators in releational databases. StreamBase is not a database at all. Instead of stored data, it's a server for processing. mixing and matching, huge and voluminous streams of real time data. Why hasn't anyone done this before?
- My iControl - iControl Networks. A plug and play home automation network, based on wireless sensors and a box that sits in your basement. The sensors include door opening, temperature, cameras, and lots of others.
- >NanoChromics Display - NTera LTd. A replacement for the good old conventional LCD display. Cheaper and brighter. Basic technology not something you would go out and buy.
- Instant Scene Modeler - MDA Very interesting: handheld contraption with two cameras is used to 'film' a scene. Within seconds the software creates a 3D digital model of the scene that you can look at from all directions.
- GiftWorks - Mission Research Inc. Financial and fundraising management software for non profits. MS Money for charities.
- Ovation - Serious Magic. Converts PowerPoint presentations to broadcast TV quality animated slides.
- Tricaster - NewTek. From the guys who did Video Toaster. A video production truck in a box. Hardware and software. $5,000.
- In the Chair - Digital Monkey. Unusual and very cool music education software. Lets a soloist read music and play their instrument while on the screen they follow the score, see a live conductor and the rest of the orchestra follow along while giving audio cues.
- QuickSite - Homestead Technologies. Web site design and hosting service from Homestead. The new twist is that they offer a huge collection of professionally designed sites for $200 each.
- Demandware Ecommerce Platform - Demandware. Basically ATG Ecommerce software packaged as an ASP service. Excellent.
- Real Basic - Real Software. A VB knockoff, which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Looks complete and powerful.
- Xcelcius - Infomersion . Create direct manipulation graphical models with graphs and controls, using an Excel spreadsheet as the underlying model.
- LiveVault - LiveVault Corporation. Just Backup and offsite recovery. But beautifully implemented via an on-site appliance which includes lots of storage, plus an offsite service, all of them very nicely integrated.
Those are my picks!