Demo Camp Dubai Review

dubai demo camp logo

dubai demo camp logo

Yesterday we attended DemoCampDubai for those of you who followed the tweets the event had its ups and downs, but that’s not what I’m going to write about in this article I will focus on giving a summary on all the demo’s and scoring them on the basis of their presentation, demo, idea originality and usefulness from 1 – 5 (1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). Of course these will be my own interpretation and not official scores.

1. CareZone

This was the first demo of the night and it was an iOS application described by one of the tweets as a loyalty program on steroids! It is definitely a good idea its basically an application where users can buy services and products and collect rewards. But the really interesting part is that there is a social factor to it in which every purchase redeemed by the user generates a sum of money that has to be donated to a charity. Think of it as a charitable foursquare. The application will be launched within 4 weeks on the iTunes and on Symbian devices, then it will be available for other platforms such as Android and Blackberry however no dates where mentioned.

The presentation was kind of quick and I personally couldn’t keep up and their where some issues with the screens, but in their defense they had 10 minutes to present and they tried to present as much as possible. But at the end of the presentation the presenter received a text message on his phone which was appeared for a good minute on the screen.

Presentation: 2

Demo: 4

Idea Originality: 5

Usefulness: 4

2. Foodlounge

Another mobile application however for Blackberry devices this time, the idea is simple. It let’s you order food directly on the app and allows you to track the order in real time. How their going to do that is kind of absurd because that means if they were able to do it every driver would have to carry a blackberry device which would be an expensive task to do. And according to the guys they’re developing it for the blackberry because they believe it is the most popular device.

Now they claimed to have a demo but because of time constraints they didn’t demo it, they showed some powerpoint slides and not very thrilling ones either! The presentation was very poor one of the presenters didn’t feel excited at all it was kind of painful to watch. Their business model is based on sponsorships and advertisements and best of all they included a social layer in the mix by allowing users to share what they’ve ordered and let friends comment on their orders.

I don’t see this app as a useful one because it doesn’t really make the process any easier, and what happens if users want to customize their orders? They claimed that this app makes the process of ordering quicker where users don’t have to wait on hold until someone picks up the phone.

For those of you who have a blackberry and would like to download the app you can do so from here.

Presentation: 1

Demo: 0

Idea Originality: 3

Usefulness: 1

3. Joyfit

Another blackberry application which was described as a social fitness app, you can track your friend’s run and be involved. Again there was no demo just some slides about the applications it is similar to the Nike+ app that is available on iOS devices.

The presentation was good, 3 students that were excited and pumped up about their app. But they got frustrated when people from the crowd started asking them some questions about security and privacy, apparently all the user information is stored on joyfit’s servers but they confirmed that the information will not be shared with any 3rd parties.

Presentation: 3

Demo: 0

Idea Originality: 2

Usefulness: 3

4. Facecut

This demo is tricky to write about because I have no clue what the presenter was going on about! Honestly it was scientific and way too complex. The presenter was a doctor at the University and I think that his demo was more of scientific experiment than anything else, I think it could work for researchers. The bit I did get was that it was a social network that uses facial symmetry to analyze the user and inform their friends about them (I think!). And the website design I think was designed back in the 90’s, seriously check out the website.

At the end a person asked how such a complicated product can be marketed, after a lot of filler talk the answer was “I don’t know”.

Presentation: 2

Demo: 2

Idea Originality: 5

Usefulness: 1

5. Toosal

Toosal is a travel search engine similar to expedia and many others, the difference is that it searches for the cheapest possible flight from all the discount airlines in the MENA region. Which is useful, these airlines don’t share their information so when you want to book a flight you have to visit each one and compare manually. Now the reason these companies don’t share the information or why they don’t have API’s is because they don’t want to deal with extra development costs, and this is where Toosal’s approach gets controversial they actually scrape all the information from these sites and display it on theirs. I’m not quite sure that is legal.

The demo was good and the site had a proper design, they demoed it side by side with the major travel search engines and managed to get cheaper flights.

Presentation: 2

Demo: 5

Idea Originality: 3

Usefulness: 4

6. Whoawee

Is a pretty and well designed gaming portal an MMO where younger kids can participate in virtual worlds and play games. Idea not original but it was apparent from the demo that they have put a lot of effort in designing the portal and I think it would be very appealing to the younger crowd. However the presentation lacked some enthusiasm.

Presentation: 2

Demo: 4

Idea Originality: 1

Usefulness: 3

7. Price Finder

This was the best presentation hands down, they started off with an engaging intro asking people who personally insured their car to stand up, and from those who stood if any had received 5 quotes or more to insure their car, and so on..

This is a very useful demo and one that could possibly generate good amounts of money, what price finder offers is a website where you can create an account and then fill out a form and request car insurance quotes in which you will receive 5 quotes from different brokers within 24 hours, these guys have their work cut out for them because to get all the brokers to agree to such a thing, worrying about licensing will and managing all the parties could be a challenging task.

They mentioned that they want to extend the website to more than just auto insurance to include items such home insurance, credit cards, etc.. to all the MENA region. The website should launch sometime in the next month.

Presentation: 5

Demo: 4

Idea Originality: 3

Usefulness: 4

8. Whizle

Whizle is a knowledge sharing platform similar to social networks but for corporations. It basically has news feeds, departments and task bars. Information or whizle’s as they call it can be shared by the management, employees and from the whizle team.

It is an interesting idea, but I’m not sure how useful it is since each corporation would require customizable features. Also corporations usually have intranets and internal message boards which could easily do the same tasks. But I think this is geared towards the smaller companies. Apparently they already have a number of clients who are registered for the service and they charge a monthly fee based on the number of users on the system.

Presentation: 3

Demo: 4

Idea Originality: 4

Usefulness: 2

Overall the event was alright and it was a good chance to network and meet people interested with new ideas and see what’s going on in the region in terms of innovating the next big thing. If I had to choose a winner I would go with Price finder, Care zone or Whizle.

But there is one very important thing I did take out of this event, which is the importance of good presentation skills and the need to have an engaging presentation. Also knowing an answer to a question that might be asked won’t hurt. For anybody planning on demoing a product keep that in mind and always be prepared.

Were you at the event? Do you have any thoughts or comments? Please let us know in the comment box.

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Having worked with top digital agencies in the MENA region for the past several of years I'm now looking now to venture on my own with small side projects in online, social and mobile. Things I like include: gaming, sports, technology, social media, start ups, funny things and reading about new bright ideas.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the comment attendee, to judge the whole article as not very good because of Facecut (of all the Demo's) is quite absurd! I would've maybe been less defensive if you mentioned Whoawee or toosal, because at the end of the day Whoawee has 30,000 thousand registered users and Toosal is something that I (and the majority of the people in the MENA region) would use.

    You obviously see something in Facecut that I didn't see, but its fine you're entitled to an opinion which I think is biased or you know something that I didn't catch in the presentation which was quite frankly not helping his pitch!

    And How can you sell something that I'm pretty sure more than half of the crowd didn't even understand. Just look at all the tweets about facecut from the people who attended and compare them with the tweets from other demo's such as carezone, pricefinder. Now that being said I did mention in the article that the idea is original and the technology is good, but I don't think mainstream people will get into facecut maybe if it is simplified and has less options than yes!

  2. Not a very good review, considering you gave Facecut a usefulness score of 1, when this is exactly the type of app that would potentially gets snapped, acquired and re-launched as an iPhone/ FB app….

    For someone critiquing Democamp, you'd expect a more mature and better informed review of the companies that participated!

  3. Thanks for the kind words Tariq!

    Actually, we only had 8 minutes to present (including the technical problems and the MC interrupting us for questions, which was kind of bizarre), but in hindsight, we should've focused on just the main points and slowed things down a bit. Either way, learnings for next time. 🙂

    Thanks again for the review, we're glad you liked CareZone and we look forward to speaking with you when we're officially ready to launch!

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