Poken S.A. was founded in December 2007 in Lausanne, Switzerland, by Stephane Doutriaux. The fouder had come up with the business idea while finishing his MBA at IMD, a business school in Lausanne. He developed the technology in collaboration with the Berner Fachhochschule, a university of applied sciences in Biel, Switzerland. The first product, the Sparks, was introduced in January 2009, the Poken Pulse launched in September 2009. The name Poken comes from the initial name of “Poker Token”, which later became Poken.
That was just a brief history about Poken S.A., the manufacturer of the Poken – the future of business cards.
Poken utilizes a Near Field Communication technology to allow the exchange of information to occur between two keychain accessories. Each person involved in the exchange must have his or her own Poken. The primary information exchanged via the Poken is a “social business card,” a digital replacememt for the physical business card. By touching two devices together, a unique ID is exchanged that links to contact information on the Poken website. Contact information acquired by use of the Poken can be uploaded to the poken website using a built-in USB connector.
In addition to the regular contact information found on any business card, links to users’ social networks can also be added. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and 40+ other social networks. Users of the Poken website can use a social dashboard to manage and interact with their contacts.
A typical scenario for how the Poken is used could look like this:
- User meets User
- User puts up his/her Poken next to the Poken of the other user, essentially holding them against each other
- The two Poken flashes green to signal that a bond was made
- At home, user plugs in the Poken into a USB port
- Poken is recognized as a standard disk
- User opens an HTML file from the disk
- The HTML file contains a page which forwards the user to the Poken website. The URL forwarded to contains the Poken’s unique identifier, as well as the unique IDs of the most recent 64 Pokens met.
- The website detects any new Pokens met, and adds them to the user’s timeline and contact list.
Contacts can also be exported to vCards or Apple Mail. The Poken is sold through a network of resellers and web shops in over 40 countries. Check out their website, and see if the Poken is available in your country. In the USA a Poken costs between $19.95 and $34.95