4 Big Themes at This Year’s DEMO

demo_badge_black.gif DEMO 2008 brought 78 companies to the stage for six minutes each. It’s speed dating for venture capitalists, and a testament to the short attention spans of today’s market. After not quite three days, here are four themes:

We have too many devices

A raft of new entrants want to integrate all my friends, phones and content, regardless of where I am or what I’m using.

Fabrik merges stored and online media, while Ribbit puts phones everywhere. 800 Genie lets me talk to my applications, Liquidtalk turns phones into enterprise podcasts, Review2buy uses SMS to comparison shop, Toktumi gives small companies big-sounding phone systems, LegiText manages enterprise SMS, and Movial makes desktop media mobile.

Managing and monetizing video

Video’s here. But how to pump it around and make money from it?

With that goal in mind, Vidyo is breaking the rules of videoconferencing and Zodiac Interactive has unveiled interactive TV shopping. Squidcast handles huge file transfers for free, Bitgravity streams live HD content, and Visible Measures will analyze viewer attention.

Componentization of the web

The web’s full of pieces: static images, YouTube clips, Facebook widgets and Flash plugins. Startups want to let users rework these pieces their own way.

CellSpin does simultaneous publishing, Sprout lets people build Flash apps from components, Seesmic turns videos into conversations, and Iterasi bookmarks the dynamic web.

SaaS and simplicity

Software-as-a-service is everywhere. But it’s not just about putting applications in the cloud, it’s also about rethinking them to make them easy and accessible to consumers. Lots of companies launched here should make established firms rethink their design.

Liquidplanner does project management, Blist builds databases without a degree, Flypaper makes everyone a flash developer, App2you eases users into form-based web apps, xtranormal makes everyone a storyboard artist, and Scenecaster — growing at an astonishing 2.5 percent a day — makes 3D modeling easy.