Federated search allows users to search many sources at once. A federated search tool is often called a silo buster, because it breaks down the barriers between information repositories. The speakers talked about trends, products to watch, etc. All good stuff.
Stuivenga's final comment on the session notes the best trend of all:
Soon you may not need a federated search tool. In a few years you may be able to link at least some databases without any extra expense or effort via built-in XML, API's and the like.