MAX Award Presentation
July 19, 1996
Let me begin by saying that we are honored to be a part of the 10th anniversary of Fensasoft and the 4th anniversary of the MAX award. As you might imagine, it isn’t easy to choose the five best Brazilian products from so many fine nominees. We have spent the past four days rushing around the show floor, speaking with developers who are passionate about their creations, and learning more about the heart and soul of Brazil than we could ever have learned from a tour guide.
I know I speak for all of the judges when I say that we are truly impressed by the overall quality of the submissions. As a group, the Brazilian software and hardware products at the show are equal to the products that we see at COMDEX and PC Expo in the United States. These products are good enough to compete in any foreign market. In fact, many of the nominees are now—or soon will be—available in English and Spanish versions for export to Europe, the United States, and Spanish-speaking South American countries.
Our group is the first International delegation to judge the MAX award. This year’s press caravan has both Canadian and Japanese representatives, as well as members from the United States. We came to the show knowing little about Brazil’s recent rush into high technology. Because so much of the media coverage in the United States and Canada is limited to local markets, we were not aware of the vitality of Brazil’s computing community.
The fact that the world’s largest computer show isn’t in the United States, Europe, or Japan—but in Brazil—speaks volumes about the enthusiasm of the Brazilian people for computer-based technologies. Add the incredible growth in the Brazilian use of the Internet—including a staggering 544% increase in commercial Web sites in Brazil during just the past six months—and you can appreciate how unprepared we were to understand the size and scope of this show.
To evaluate the MAX award submissions, we used three main criteria based on the work of the previous MAX award judges. First, the product had to be developed in Brazil or be substantially modified for the Brazilian market. As if to illustrate the new strength and confidence of the Brazilian market, all of the winners originated in Brazil—none were modifications of products from other countries.
Second, the product had to have commercial potential outside Brazil. Whether a company actually planned to sell the product outside the country was less important than the judges’ opinion about the potential of such a move.
Finally, the product had to offer something new—an innovation that raised it above other products in the same category. Under this heading, the judges looked for uniqueness, elegant design, and intelligence. Having applied these criteria to each of the nominees, we can safely say that the MAX award winner and four runners up can easily hold their own against similar products anywhere in the world.
Now let’s move on to the announcements. I will call the four runners-up for the MAX award in no particular order and then call the winner of the MAX award.
VOX PC-Phone from VOX Telecom is a Windows application that does for corporate PBXs what Netscape did for the World Wide Web. Like the Web, PBXs have an enormous amount of untapped power. Telephone functions, such as Conference, Follow-Me, and Pick-Up, are so difficult to use with a normal handset that few people actually use them. VOX PC-Phone invokes each of the PBX functions with a simple mouse click and works with all the major PBX systems. Now you can have the power of your PBX right on your computer desktop.
Perto’s Pertochek is a hardware device for businesses that need to process a large number of exceptional checks. It writes the bankcodes on prepared checks, reads the bankcodes on checks received, and performs a balance look-up using a terminal device similar to ones used in grocery stores. Cleanly designed, Pertochek is an elegant answer to an important, though troublesome, commercial problem.
Create-a-Base from DSL Informatica is an extremely easy-to-use database program that fits on a single diskette. It runs in Windows; has an excellent search capability; is available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish; and costs less than $50. With this package, you don’t have to be a UNIX programmer in order to create a powerful database.
SISCORP from Starsoft is a comprehensive corporate management system that’s available in a remarkable number of languages and operating systems. It runs under Windows, UNIX, DOS, and Macintosh, and includes support for English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The full system requires only eight diskettes for Windows, five for DOS, and nine for the Macintosh. The program seamlessly integrates its database functions with payroll, project management, reporting, and customer support.
And now for the moment you have all been waiting for. The winner of the 1996 MAX award is MicroSiga Technologia’s Serial Pack Restaurante for Windows. Accounting programs don’t have to be dull, colorless, and boring. Serial Pack Restaurante for Windows includes colorful icons to track reservations for restaurant tables. A waiter can enter an order at one workstation, and the program instantly transmits the information to the chef in the kitchen. The CD-ROM even includes a full tutorial to quickly get the restaurant staff up to speed. We expected a program with all these capabilities to sell for more than $1,000 in North America. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that Serial Pack Restaurante sells for less than $200, a bargain in any language.