DEMO 2011: Five Stand-Out Cloud Products for the Enterprise

Cloud computing startup companies took the stage for six-minute pitches on day one at DEMO Spring 2011. Here's a look at five notable cloud upstarts targeting the enterprise.

On day one of the DEMO Spring 2011 conference this week in Palm Desert, Calif., a slew of start-up companies pitched products ranging from an ecoATM that recycles old gadgets to a Web site that lets customers virtually try on clothes using their Web cams.

The six-minute pitches and business models came in many flavors, but the common theme across these upstarts striving for consumer and enterprise dollars was — you guessed it — cloud computing.

Cloud-based technologies (and some virtualization) loomed over most of day one's presentations. On the enterprise side, there was a big emphasis on using social networking to improve the bottom line, consolidating cloud-based content for a more organized workforce, and how to best manage your data in the cloud.

Here are five enterprise cloud products that generated on buzz on DEMO day one.

Slideshow: 20 Awesome Tech Products at DEMO 2011

Workface from Workface

Workface is a cloud-based platform that helps connects salespeople to customers. The Workface technology takes a salesperson's skills and identity and turns it into an interactive business card-like window — called a profile — that includes title, job summary, video, text, images, documents and links.

All salespeople's profiles are enabled on your Web site through the Workface toolbar and allow for two-way conversations when customers visit your site through text, audio or video. Sales professionals can be geographically and contextually matched up with customers visiting your site, helping turn Web traffic into qualified leads. Profiles can also be distributed wherever customers are online such as blogs, articles, Web sites, social media, paid advertising and search results.

Competition: No direct competitors.

Stratosphere from V3

Want to trade in your heavy laptop for access to your desktop on any computer or tablet? Maybe V3 Systems can help. V3 is a virtual desktop infrastructure vendor whose appliance, called Stratosphere, allows companies to deploy virtual desktops that draw less power and are two to eight times faster than local desktops. A demo at V3's on-stage pitch proved that images and PowerPoint slides download twice as fast on a V3 virtual desktop than a local one. V3 claims that virtual desktops delivered by Stratosphere use a fraction of the power compared to traditional VDIs, which require a SAN (storage area network).

Stratosphere supports up to 400 virtual desktops and uses only 1U of rack space, according to V3.

Competition: Various vendors that provide a different piece of the virtual desktop stack. But Stratosphere is the first drop in virtual desktop appliance, according to V3.

GageIn from GageIn

GageIn is a social networking platform for businesses that helps co-workers share relevant content about other companies such as news stories, press releases, videos, slide presentations, financial and analyst reports, blog feeds and case studies.

GageIn's online service allows you to follow certain companies as you would follow people and companies on Twitter. You can also promote your own business and share content from the GageIn service to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as track competitors, collaborate with colleagues and connect with customers, partners and vendors.

GageIn gathers information about a company from the company's Web site, news outlets and social content sites like YouTube. Employees can configure agents and keywords to receive alerts on key events such as new product announcements and mergers and acquisitions.

Competitors: Hoovers, LinkedIn, Jive Software

Vector from HBMG, Inc.

Vector from HBMG is a cloud-centric appliance that provides the IT infrastructure for an SMB or a remote office for an enterprise. Vector combines hardware, software, virtualization, cloud computing, management and services to create a "data center in a box without people," said CEO David Smith at HBMG's demo, adding that the cloud is only powerful when it is complemented physical infrastructure.

Vector is shipped in a shock mounted case and operated without air conditioning. An IT manager can plug it into an amp outlet, add an ISP and users, and be replicating and storing data in the cloud while also keeping it physically on premise, according to HBMG.

Competitors: No direct competitors.

ApSynth from ApSynth

ApSynth is a PaaS (platform as a service) that lets you create and deploy Web apps easily through an App Editor. Once the apps are published they can be embedded and spread to other Web sites, blogs and social networks. ApSynth targets bloggers, Web content creators and Web agencies who need to make SaaS apps but don't have any IT skills. App creators can deliver the apps for free or monetize the Web apps by setting a price for a monthly number of displays.

Competitors: force.com, Google App Engine, Zoho

Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for CIO.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Shane at soneill@idgenterprise.com

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