The Demo-pit and the Innovation panel at HeadStart 2009

We have a very interesting format for presentations by startups and companies with new products at HeadStart and Compute 2009 this year. At the live product demonstrations in HeadStart 2008, we noticed a couple of things. First, presenters were so engrossed with pitching products that they did not actually find any time or get an opportunity to ask the experts and eminent speakers present at the event about things they would have liked to ask relating to their businesses. Second, we had received over 100 nominations and although a lot of them were good, only 20 of them could demo on stage. Even some of judges on the review panel commented later that we should have given a chance to a few companies that got left out. All this when, we had over 2000 sq ft of space empty at the venue !

Therefore, this time around at HeadStart 2009, we have a Demo-pit. The pit will have around 30-40 booths given out to select companies with new and exciting products to show and is just outside the main auditorium where visitors will all go by. We have a panel called the ‘Innovation panel’ on the 9th which will have around 8 eminent people and we will stream live feeds from the pit to the panel and have companies ask questions about what they would consider important for their businesses. The audience can also pitch in and we hope the sharing of experiences from the pit will be insightful to everyone attending.

So, if you or anyone wants to be at the demo-pit, just nominate your product to HeadStart 2009. We will qualify companies for the pit from the nominations itself.

I am going to introduce you all to everyone on the panels and let me start with Dr Vishy Poosala, Head of Bell Labs India. In his current role, he leads a world class R&D team in delivering research breakthoughs and internal technology ventures, and growing overall Alcatel-Lucent business. His current focus includes creating novel applications and networking technologies, especially for the emerging markets. Vishy was the Founder and CTO of Geopepper, an Alcatel-Lucent venture delivering innovative location based services. Dr Poosala is a recognized expert on the business and technical aspect of mobile applications, web 2.0 and database systems. He has published over 20 technical papers, been granted 18 patents and won the Bell Labs President’s Gold Award three times.

Dr Poosala received his BTech in Computer Science from IIT Madras, India in 1992 and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1997. He has been with Bell Labs and Alcatel Lucent Ventures in different roles – researcher, technical manager, CTO and now the Head of Bell Labs India. He was also an Adjunct Professor at New York University.

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