CONTACT DETAILS used to be simple: name and number. Later we added cellphone numbers and email addresses and now people have long lists that include their Skype username, instant messaging details, Twitter, LinkedIn and numerous others. A business card simply isn’t big enough to contain it all. Enter Poken.
I first saw a Poken at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair this year. It’s a small device in plastic resembling a USB thumb drive. What Poken does is allow you to digitally and instantly swap contact details with someone – no pen or cards required.
All you do is simply touch your Poken against someone else’s Poken and your details are transferred. So when you plug the Poken into your computer it uploads all the other person’s contact details, including connecting you to all his social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.
When you first use a Poken you don’t even need to set up an account – simply start Poken and you can do the online set up later. Poken lets you create an account on its website, where you enter all your contact details you want shared with others. Poken also allows you to circumvent tricky situations where you don’t really want to exchange details with someone: simply press a button and it goes into “ghost mode” – which means either none of your details will be transferred or the other person will only receive limited details you’ve specified on the Poken website.
Its makers say they’re targeting the device at conference organisers, who could easily provide all delegates to their events with Pokens when registering. I’ve been using the device for a couple of weeks but so far have only met five other people using it. The Poken website is still a bit rough but it’s being improved. The device works as advertised, but batteries don’t charge from your USB port – so you have to replace them every few months. Other than that, Poken (or a device like it) is set to become the killer of the business card. PRICE: R250. MOBILE TV AROUND THE CORNER GOOGLE HAS UNVEILED a new product called Wave that aims to combine email, social networks, instant messaging and collaboration tools. Wave has been called “the next generation of email” by analysts and allows people to organise their communications, even with people of different languages, as Wave has a built-in translation application. Using Wave you can