Participants will wear Pokens, whimsical devices that use near field communication (NFC) to retrieve and store information from fellow attendees, and then, electronically network with their connections from their computers.
The conference, organized by The Schallert Group of Longmont, Colorado, brings eight headline speakers to a single stage, providing independent entrepreneurs and small businesses access to insights usually available only to Fortune 500 companies.
Rather than exchanging business cards, Summit attendees can collect contacts by holding the Pokens close, – a “high four” from the four-fingered hand of playful characters such as a kitten or panda.
The green glow signals that the connection has been made.
In a first-in-the-U.S. pilot, conference-goers can visit Boulder businesses equipped with Poken technology and will experience this two-way NFC exchange of information. For example, information and videos about fine wine for sale can be passed to customers, while the store receives information about the prospective purchaser.
“Boulder will be the first city in the country where Poken Sparks and Poken Tags are demonstrated,” says Jon Schallert, president of The Schallert Group and a speaker at the conference. “We’re going to put them in different retail stores and conduct a Downtown Boulder treasure hunt.”
Poken devices, created in Switzerland and just now coming to North America, are popular for social networking – a paperless way to collect more than phone numbers at parties – and are finding application in more fields.
This fall, Indiana State University became the first college to distribute Pokens to all incoming students, easing introductions and potentially boosting retention for the school.
Schallert, arranged to introduce Pokens at the Summit Business Conference after he discovered the technology in an in-flight magazine article.
The cutting-edge application fits the event’s aim to elevate small businesses, he says.
“Our conference is really a way that any size business can play on a level playing field with some big companies that would normally get this expert advice. There’s a synergy that comes from combining new technology and these top business experts together to teach independent entrepreneurs.”
In addition to Schallert, speakers are Michael Kerr, a humor expert; Debra Fine, a business networking expert; Terri Norvell, a leadership development expert; Andy Core, a wellness expert; Marti Barletta, author and worldwide expert on marketing to women; Henriette Klauser, an author and authority on writing productivity; and Shawne Duperon, an Emmy-winning TV producer and publicity strategist.