Bluetooth-powered mobile social network aka aki records encounters in the real world
Since a couple of days I am a user of the Berlin-based Bluetooth-powered mobile social network aka aki. I think aka aki is a very cool and super sticky application with a great future. Thumbs up to the 8 co-founders from the UDK (Berlin University of the Arts) for coming up with a mobile innovation that takes advantage of the unique mobile technology Bluetooth to enable a new form of intelligent encounters and meetings in the real world.
The aka aki social network can be accessed with a web client and a mobile Java client. The unique selling proposition (USP) of the mobile Java client is its Bluetooth function. The app runs in the background and captures the unique Bluetooth ID (MAC address) and user-defined Bluetooth device name of all Bluetooth devices that are encountered when running around in the real world within the proximity of 20 meters. Then it transmits them to the aka aki server to check whether the Bluetooth ID is known or not. If it is a known Bluetooth ID belonging to an aka aki member, then you can see the profile of this member. If not, the new Bluetooth ID and device name are stored on the server to enable recording the number of anonymous encounters that this unregistered user has with other registered aka aki members.
Having run a private betatest from August 2007 until March 2008 the service is now a public beta counting around 3.000 members. As of today, aka aki is powered by 14 employees, some private business angels as well as the VC Creathor Venture. The business model is still in the making and not yet decided. Most probably it will be based on some form of mobile advertising. Moreover, the aka aki team looks at ways to monetise the Bluetooth-recorded encounters between members and unregistered users. In the future, GPS and other cool stuff will be supported, too. Right now, a Facebook app and the English version are top priorities for aka aki.
In my eyes, Bluetooth-recorded real world encounters will be adopted by other social networks in the future, too. Proving my point, aka aki already defines itself as an open company interested in talking to potential partners for cooperation.
In the meantime, I look forward to encountering and meeting you in the real world.
Jan Michael Hess is Founder and CEO of Ecosummit and Mobile Economy GmbH. Berlin-based Mobile Economy provides management consulting focused on smart green business innovation. Ecosummit is the Smart Green Economy Network for startups, investors and corporates. Mobile Economy produced the international conferences Green Venture Summit 2010 (250 participants) and Ecosummit 2011 (300 participants) in Berlin. Jan acts as Chief Editor for Ecosummit.net and the Youtube channel Ecosummit TV. Prior to founding Mobile Ecomomy in 2000, Jan worked for Pixelpark, Icon Medialab and Ciao. Jan holds a business degree from the University of Mannheim in Germany.
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