Billed as the ultimate geek competition, DemoJam 2014 offers developers, enterprise architects, engineers, sysadmins, and other IT professionals the chance to strut their best technology ideas in front of perhaps the most enthusiastic gathering of peers anywhere around the world. Lucky finalists have the chance to present their demos at one or all of SAP TechEd && d-code events being held in Las Vegas and Berlin this fall, followed by Bangalore early next year. With the competition fast approaching, I thought it would be intriguing to hear what advice couple of last year’s winners have for hopefuls in 2014. Here’s what they told me.
Lesson One: Flashy Practicality Wins the Day
When 15-year SAP veteran Krishna Kumar walked away a DemoJam winner last year it was his third time participating and it proved to be the charm. He and teammate Prashant Nirmale, Head of Sales and Delivery at EXA AG India, won for their demo of SAP HANA Based M-Tolling, a cloud subscription-based payment system to collect highway tolls. They were inspired by frustrating experiences sitting in epic traffic.
“I was spending up to 25 minutes waiting in my car to pay tolls every day. We realized that India’s disconnected toll roads needed a cloud solution that integrates big data for multiple companies, mobility for end-users, and government ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems for road maintenance,” said Kumar.
The kicker that enthralled the audience was a small-scale replica of a toll gate that Kumar and Nirmale opened using their app during their demo on stage. After seeing the video, an Australian roadways company which had similar problems, embarked on a co-development effort with Kumar in India.
Lesson 2: Dare to be different plus genuinely entertaining
HANAdeck offers welcome relief to anyone trying to make sense of mind-numbing mountains of complex data. This virtual reality system transforms big data into 3-D real-life visualizations that anyone can understand. It was the brainchild of Will Powell and Nic Doodson, respectively Head of Innovation and Associate at keytree, a London-based SAP partner. Since winning the 2013 competition, the pair has been deluged by people asking for their opinions on other innovations, and interested in exploring similar use cases. “Since DemoJam we’ve worked with clients to bring some of these concepts to life in a variety of use cases,” said Powell.
According to Doodson, it isn’t enough for contestants to have a great idea. “Come up with a different way to present your idea in an entertaining way because your audience has seen countless demos.”
To wit, last year the team donned Start Trek uniforms for their demo making for an admittedly cheesy yet memorably entertaining six minutes on stage, as captured in Derek Klobucher’s blog. What’s more, they made the user in their 3-D virtual world look like Iron Man, which kept the audience fully engaged.
As astonishing technologies are increasingly embedded in our daily lives, these winners are proof that the bar for the wow factor just keeps rising. There’s no doubt that this year’s innovators will continue the march forward.
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