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nTag - push networking and Social Sensor Technology

ntagNetworking is hard! It is not uncommon for people to ‘attend’ a networking event (arrive late, leave early) and when they are at the networking event, they tend to migrate to familiar faces. Thats not what networking is about.

I remember going to a conference a while ago and a stranger asked me for my card. I looked at him with puzzlement because I didn’t know him and we hadn’t even exchanged greetings. He sheepishly told me that his boss had made a condition that he had to come back with 20 business cards from the conference for him to get reimbursed for the conference expenses. He had attended all the talks at the conference but did not have the aptitude for ‘networking.” I started to chat with him about his work and it was clear that he was a very sharp guy - just not very outgoing.

To some networking comes easy, to others, it is a constant struggle.

Enter Social Sensor technology. Using the infrared sensors, nTag is doing something to make the networking task a tad easier with their electronic badge product.

These are excerpts from their website:

Greetings
Get attendees talking with nTAG’s Greetings features. Using profile information provided at the time of registration, nTAG lets attendees know what they have in common so it’s easier to start conversations. When two attendees meet, their nTAGs compare profile information and suggest topics of mutual interest—professional attributes, hobbies, areas of expertise, personality type, or even home town. This information helps break the ice and provides common ground for starting conversations with new people that could become valuable contacts.

Networking Games
Jumpstart the networking process with nTAG’s fun and interactive games. In the Secret Partner game, you’re assigned a partner and the goal is to locate that partner with the help of the nTAG. During the game, nTAGs provide clues and keep track of who has met whom and when. For example, when you approach another attendee, her nTAG will display a greeting such as, “Hi. I met your Secret Partner.” This clue prompts you to ask the attendee to introduce you to all the people she met recently, thereby creating lots of person-to-person interaction.

Business Card Exchange
Make sure meeting participants capture complete, accurate contact information. When two participants (two attendees, an attendee and an exhibitor, an attendee and a sponsor, etc.) meet, each nTAG automatically logs the name of the other person and displays it at the top of the nTAG menu. Once the name is logged and displayed, nTAG enables the exchange of contact information with a single click. nTAG’s touch-screen keyboard lets you add notes to the contact information for easier follow-up, or in the case of exhibitors, more accurate lead qualification.

When the meeting is over, attendees receive a link to their personalize myntag web page where they can download contacts or have them e-mailed. No more keeping track of business cards or retyping addresses. For exhibitors, lead information can be automatically sent to sales offices and CRM systems for immediate action and improved follow-up.

Of course, nTag maintains the event schedule and related information, so its always at the fingertip of the attendee.

I can see that this could be useful in certain types of events.

ntag_device

nTag could be the next “Power Point”. Before power point, many had difficulty giving presentation; now with the Power point, it is a lot easier. You get a lot of boring talks and various presentations but at least it is a bit easier for the presenter.

nTag, founded in 2002, by Rick Borovoy (an ex-MIT Media Lab PhD) and George Eberstadt, is a wireless badge worn by conference attendees that allows them to communicate with each other as well as the conference organizer. The nTag, uses an infrared sensor to detect other badges when two people communicate with each other.

It seems that it rents for $40 to $100 per conference. There is another competing product called SpotMe; it seems that the pricing of SpotMe is on the higher side of nTag pricing. It is little pricey for sure! Here is a picture of Spotme device.

spotme_device

From the pictures, it seems that SpotMe has a better solution. But at $100+ for a conference use, the market is probably limited.

In my view, the device has to be one of those throw away items that people can take home with them before it takes off. I am not concerned, those days will be here soon!

nteractive Corp., a Boston-based provider of real-time event data management solutions, has raised $8.3 million in Series B funding. Return backers include Sevin Rosen Funds and Pilot House Ventures. The company has now raised over $21 million in total VC funding.

Via Alarm:Clock

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August 19th, 2007 Posted by Sunny Kalara | Technology, Venture Capital, Opinion | 3 comments