Shake-on: a ‘handy’ way to exchange personal information at events

May 16, 2017

A handshake and exchanging business cards: it’s the basis of networking. Shake-on connects digital information transfer to these natural actions. “The overflood of paper business cards on network events, and remembering who is who, is now something of the past”, says Babak Heydari, founder of Shake-on.

How would you describe Shake-on in one tweet?
“Shake-on stimulates interaction and networking during and after an event. By shaking hands, information is exchanged.”

What does Shake-on do exactly?
“Shake-on makes is easier for visitors to connect and maintain relations. We developed a bracelet that works with near field communication. When visitors shake hands, the bracelets communicate by means of Bluetooth: the ‘business cards’ are exchanged.”

How do you use Shake-on?
“During the online registration, you fill in which personal details you would like to share with the people you meet. Most visitors choose to share their name, picture, company, job title, and email address. Once at the event, you get a bracelet that is linked to your profile. Afterwards, you receive an email with contact information from the people you shook hands with, or you simply download the app to retrieve the data.”

Is the bracelet just interesting for visitors of business events?
“No, Shake-on is also beneficial to other parties, like stand holders and organizers. Stand holders can place touchpoints. When visitors move their bracelet alongside the device, stand holders learn about the reach of their target group. To the best of my knowledge, up till now, there is no such instrument to measure and indicate physical traffic.”

And for organizers?
“For organizers, Shake-on functions as a crowd management system. You can see where the crowded areas are, which stands perform well, and which themes are popular. You get insights into the quality and popularity of the event. For new events, it can be a pilot test: should you organize the event again next year? And what should be your focus? Besides this, ease of use leads to customer satisfaction, one of the most important pillars of long lasting relationships.”

When will users receive the information from Shake-on?
“Stand holders immediately see when a visitor passed a touchpoint. Organizers can analyze their data after the event, using the web tool. Visitors can see who they have met, both real-time as afterwards. For the real-time function, we have an app where visitors can also add notes, like ‘this person is interested in working together’. This way you keep track of all your contacts you meet during an event.”

Which problem does Shake-on solve for a visitor?
“The pile of business cards that you collect and distribute at an event. During a three-day event, you quickly collect around 150 business cards. But who is who again? If you manage to keep all business cards with you, you have to register all contact info in your laptop, while you will probably visit some LinkedIn pages as well validating the picture with the person you had in mind. Besides this, you distribute about the same amount of business cards, which costs a lot of money and is not environmentally friendly either.”

What is the idea behind the name Shake-on?
“Shaking hands is a natural, conscious and quite normal action when you meet someone. However, a handshake is a mutual action. Therefore, you maintain control over who you share your data with, while avoiding awkward moments of asking a business card. The word ‘on’ serves as a stimulation to shake as many hands as possible: ‘get it on’!”

For what type of events is Shake-on suitable?
“Congresses, network events, and conferences are mainly using are service, but actually Shake-on could be used for any type of event. Shake-on aims to make events even more relevant and user friendly. Every organizer wants a visitor to go home satisfied.”

And for small network events?
“Shake-on is a tool that is very suitable for small events, which covers about 70% of the entire market. The bracelet is easy to use and organizers pay per piece, so if you have twenty visitors, you only pay for twenty bracelets.”

Which events already used Shake-on?
“We already did some nice events, like corporate and network events for Randstad, a company event for Tata Steel, and last week the visitors should hands at the Week van de Ondernemer.”

Do the benefits weigh up to the costs?
“Except for creating value, organizers can also save money on for instance registration and access cards. Shake-on offers an all-in package, that reaches from online visitor registration at ticket sale, to the analysis of the event. It can even generate new revenue sources, because wireless payment will soon be possible. As we speak, we are working on the implementation of the technology in our tool and at the end of this year, wireless payments will be possible.”

How did Shake-on start?
“I was still a student at the Erasmus University when I was at a festival where Budweiser promoted their beer in beer cups, that made use of near field communication. As soon as you made a toast, you became friends on Facebook. I thought the idea was cool, but I realized that it could be improved. Toasting is too easy, which led to unwanted Facebook friends as well. Shaking hands is a more conscious action, because the handshake has to be mutual.”

Were you immediately interested in doing events?
“No, I kind of rolled into it. At first, the technology intrigued me. Only later, the business side of it came to mind. At events, I often forgot to ask a business card when I had talked to someone. If I then still remembered to do so, it was a challenge to find the right moment to ask for it. It felt like an unnatural action.”

Do you have a technical background?
“No, not at all. I studied Business Economics. For the development of my idea, I searched for an engineer. With the help of YES!Delft, I met Anton de Bode. I pitched my idea and he was enthusiastic right away. YES!Delft often organizes evenings where creative minds and technicians are brought together, to realize their ‘hypothetical innovations’. Shake-on exists as BV since 2015, the bracelet was brought on the market in April 2016.”

I can imagine that visitors emphasize their privacy, how does Shake-on approach this?
“The user is always fully informed about what is being done with their data. You can determine beforehand which details you want to share, but you can also choose to not share any details. We do not sell personal information to other parties for marketing purposes, Shake-on is for the visitor. The details are stored in our own cloud, which makes it inaccessible for others as well.”

How does this work exactly?
“The bracelet contains unique codes, and each code is linked to a piece of information in the cloud. When you shake hands, the code is sent to the cloud and the cloud sends the personal information to the account of the other person. Organizers can only see heatmaps, not the details about who is where, this would be a violation of their privacy. You can also turn off your bracelet in between, so that you will not share information at that moment. Just passing by someone else is not enough, you must shake hands naturally for the motion sensor in the bracelet to detect a handshake. That is the biggest difference with the promotional action of Budweiser.”

Do you have competition?
“The American company ‘Loopd’ offers fairly the same service. You wear a necklace that exchanges personal details when you press the button at the same time. This action is again a little unnatural, which can lead to resistance. For us, the goal is to not let the user work for the technology, but let the technology work for them.”

What does your revenue model look like?
“The bracelet consists of two parts: a technological part on the inside of the bracelet, and the rubber cover. The rubber band can be personalized for any type of event. We also offer two technological options, so that bracelets can already be rented starting from five euros per bracelet. At the moment, the bracelets can only be rented, but we are working hard on making them suitable for sale.”

What does the future hold?
“Besides selling the bracelets, we would like to work with resellers. Especially for smaller events this would be useful, because smaller events are more occurring, and thus need bracelets on a regular basis. Furthermore, we want to focus on other markets, like festivals, hotels, cruises, and hospitals. For now, we are still focusing on business events, because I think we can still explore this further.”

Do you have international ambitions? What are your dreams?
“Yes, we are already expanding to Germany. My ultimate dream is to introduce Shake-on to CES, the biggest technology conference in Las Vegas. The events that I would like to do in the Netherlands, are the Huishoudbeurs and the AutoRAI. We are currently enlarging our capacity, so that we are ready to receive the request for bracelets from the Huishoudbeurs in 2018.”

Check out the original article in Dutch on EMERCE.

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