A while back we were pretty excited by the paperless business card idea.
Along came Contxts which offered a way to exchange contact info with no data entry and no paper. A simple keyword text message sent to a database and your new connection receives your vcard instantly on their mobile device. Pretty smart and essentially universal but for some reason it never caught on. It seems to serve more of a backup function for those times we find ourselves without a card.
Another development came along in Bump, the iphone app which was later made available for Droid. Bump allows users to trade info with a shake of their phones but only works iphone to iphone, or Droid to Droid. Bump is a one time exchange, it does not update over time. The information is static so you have to “rebump” if data changes.
Enter Poken. This is a significant step in the evolution of contact management. A Poken is basically a USB drive that stores your social networking profiles and contact data. It transmits its user’s data to other pokens when prompted. As you update, it does too. If you link one poken with another they not only exchange contact information they establish a live link to the each other’s ongoing updates. All of this is administrated by a master poken profile at poken.com.
Eventually all of these things may be integrated into one primary ID profile technology (via VISA/Google?) that is essentially universal. Down the line we see it embedded into your mobile device with your wallet, gps, phone, etc. For now it’s exciting to see these technologies evolve. Maybe poken will take us there?