Network World recently merged with IDG Executive Forums and because of that partnership, we're now the beneficiaries of Demo, one of the best conferences around.I've attended both Demo and DemoMobile in the past and they are, to say the least, awe-inspiring. In an era when trade shows and conferences are getting smaller and less relevant, Demo has remained cutting edge and to the point.For almost a year prior to Demo, executive producer Chris Shipley sits down with some of the freshest start-ups and innovative mainstays around. She interviews them about their research and development efforts and gets to see first-hand what the future holds for the IT industry. Out the hundreds of companies she visits with, only about 60 are extended an invitation to launch their new products at Demo, in front of investors, the press and you, their future customers. It's incredibly exciting.These companies are pioneering in the areas of IT asset management, network security, device computing and collaboration. They are stepping out from the doom and gloom projected for the industry and moving us all forward. Demo showcases the best of the best from next-generation mail clients to emerging instant messaging tools, mobile platforms, advanced protection systems, and infrastructure that lets you capitalize on the value of IT.The developers of these products and services are so jazzed to be at Demo that the excitement is palpable. You walk among their demonstration booths, which are identical (none of that flashy trade show glitz), and it is their energy that sets them apart. They entice you to take a look at their product just by their enthusiasm.And once you've seen a few of the demonstration and have talked to some of luminaries at Demo, your mind starts reeling. You suddenly become a matchmaker wanting to introduce one start-up to another so they can get their inventions together to create an even better product.The networking is also a blast. You meet entrepreneurs, industry lifers, venture capitalists, and more. Everyone spends a hectic three days together picking each other's brains, trying to come up with and comprehend the next big thing.This year's event will be held from Feb. 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort in Phoenix, Ariz. Register now to attend and get to see first-hand the thrill of innovation.