Innovation That Matters

Electronic business card forges online connections

Work & Lifestyle

When we wrote about RFID-enabled pokens last month, we noted that business professionals might prefer something slightly less cute than pandas on their keychains for exchanging digital contact details. As if on cue, Virginia-based Mingle360 recently launched the MingleStick, a small, sleek keychain device that serves as an electronic business card. The MingleStick is a single-button device with an infrared sensor on one end and a capped USB connector on the other. When two users meet, they both point their MingleSticks at each other and click the button to create a successful connection, which is indicated by a small green light. At the end of the day, they can each plug their device into their computer; the Mingle360 website automatically launches and they can log into their account to view the connections they made that day. Address book, calendar, messaging, group organization and content sharing features are all available through the company’s MingleManager application, as are privacy controls that let the user decide how much information to share with each new acquaintance. Currently, the MingleStick is aimed at organizers of trade shows and other events. Service pricing includes a setup fee, security deposit and per-device rental fee that begins at USD 20 but is negotiable based on volume and other factors. Branding opportunities are also available. The MingleStick has already been used at multiple trade shows, conventions and singles events, and provides yet another excellent example of the digital lifestyle lubricants that are increasingly blurring the lines between online and off. It’s also the first we’ve seen offered on a rental basis for events, sidestepping entirely the problem of achieving the critical mass that would otherwise be necessary to make the devices useful. One to try out, partner with or otherwise get involved in early….? (Related: Connecting online and off with RFID for the massesRFID collar tag helps dog owners meet new friendsShopping by invitation onlyDating cards fuse physical and virtual connections.)



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