Business networking is something we all do, so much so that it becomes second nature. It’s the way we do business networking that’s about to change in a big way.
The business card is the medium that’s been used for generations to share contact information. Ironically, the more we equip ourselves with smartphones and netbooks, the more we order boxes of little paper cards to hand out. They may come from a print shop, your computer printer or you can design them online. But in the end, you still wind up with a pack of paper slips in your pocket to hand out when you meet people in person. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if your offline business network contacts were as easy to store and search as your online relationships?
That’s the idea behind Poken. It turns the business card into a virtual object that is sharable using a standardized gadget you carry in lieu of cards. A companion online portal stores your uploaded contacts and displays them in easy to use lists or a timeline with photos.
All of the Poken gadgets are basically the same. They consist of a coil antenna hidden beneath a four-fingered white hand icon. That icon is the Poken logo. Also inside the gadget is a small microprocessor, USB connector, pushbutton, LED indicators and a replaceable battery. The main difference between Poken are the plastic shells. Many are decorated as humorous characters called pokenSPARK. The model designed specifically for business is embedded in a flash memory drive and called the pokenPULSE.
Here’s how the networking process works in the Poken age. When you meet someone you’d like to exchange contact information with, you notice that they have a Poken gadget handy or you ask them, “do you Poken?” If the answer is yes, as it increasingly will be, you simply touch the hand logo on your Poken with the hand on theirs. Hold them together for a second or two to make the connection and then pull them apart. Both hands should be pulsating with a green glow. That means the data transfer has taken place.
What data is transfered? It’s a unique code that identifies you as a Poken user. There’s no personal data actually stored in the gadget, so if you happen to lose your device nobody will be able to invade your privacy. Your Poken device is matched to your account. You need the ID and password to gain entry, just like any other secure website.
Please note that the Pulse is both a Poken gadget and a standard 2 GB USB flash memory. You do need to take the same care to protect any data you store on the flash portion of the Pulse as you would with any other solid state memory device.
When you get back to your computer, you plug the Poken into a USB port and upload the contacts you’ve made since the last upload. Your new contacts will be added to your online contact database. Look at the timeline and you’ll see the Poken cards for each of the contacts you’ve made. You’ll recognize them immediately, because you’ll see a photo as well as their name and other contact data. You’ll also be able to click on the website links they’ve provided, including their FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. Perhaps they’ve also included a company website and blog.
You control what’s on your Poken card, so you can share as much or little information as you wish. It’s just like a business card, but more attuned to the online nature of business these days.
Would you like to start using Poken yourself, or perhaps equip you entire team with Poken gadgets? They’re easy to use, easy to carry along and so inexpensive you may want several for your own use. Don’t forget that the Poken Pulse replaces the USB flash memory device you probably carry now.