Proximity-Based Social Networking Offers New Ways to Share and Manage Personal Profiles.
Pleasanton, CA (PRWEB) November 19, 2008 -– Zurado Systems announced today a free web-based template that allows users of its PXT wireless information technology to create and edit detailed personal profiles that can be downloaded to their mobile phones and accessed by other PXT users in the vicinity. PXT technology enables mobile phone users to gather and store on-the-spot information about all kinds of nearby people, places, and things.
PXT stands for please explain that. The technology is designed for the realm of self-describing objects. Broadly speaking, a self-describing object possesses information about itself and has the technological means to communicate that information when it is requested. In this realm, if a museumgoer has a question about a painting on the wall, he or she asks that painting on the wall. Or if a passer-by has a question about an exciting new product in the storefront window, he or she asks – that exciting new product in the storefront window.
Cars, large appliances, complex electronics, laboratory equipment, heavy machinery, real estate, restaurants, new retail products and services, museum exhibits of all sorts, gravesites, historical landmarks, and various public facilities are all examples of things that could be self-describing objects. And in some sense people can be viewed as self-describing objects too. A mobile phone user can direct PXT to probe inanimate objects such as the painting on the museum wall, and then use it again on the train home to probe the personal profile of a fellow straphanger. Universality was a key design objective of PXT technology. PXT presents exactly the same simple interface for interacting with all kinds of self-describing objects – both animate and inanimate.
In the parlance of PXT technology people who request information are referred to as information consumers and the self-describing objects that respond are referred to as information suppliers.
Two major components of Zurado's technology are the PXT Probe and PXT Portal, for the information consumer and information supplier, respectively. Consumers retrieve and store multimedia content about nearby objects using PXT Probe, and suppliers program the PXT Portal to deliver multimedia content about all kinds of things – including people – to nearby consumers. Probe and Portal are software packages that run on mobile devices such as smartphones and PDAs. Portal software also runs standalone on a small fixed-position device branded the PXT Transponder. Consumers and suppliers communicate directly with each other via Bluetooth. Neither the internet nor carrier network is involved. The technology is entirely offnet, and as such it is fast, simple, reliable, and extremely inexpensive to use.
The PXT social networking template that is announced today contains space for a photo, contact information, personal data, likes and dislikes, and information about education and work experience. The template data is entered through a user-friendly form. Behind the scenes, the data is transformed into a PXT-interpretable format and packaged into a downloadable image for the mobile phone. The profile content is similar to that associated with Facebook and other online social and business networking sites. However the methods by which PXT profiles are managed and accessed are quite different.
Zurado hosts the service for creating and editing its profiles, but by no means is Zurado a social networking site, nor is it in the social networking business. It remains an information technology company, anxious to maintain its focus and steer clear of the thorny content ownership and privacy issues with which some of the online social networking sites have had to contend.
Zurado founder Todd Marques says, "We provide information suppliers and consumers with a simple, reliable means to transmit and receive on-the-spot information about all kinds of things. We offer communication technology -- and that now includes a tool to simplify the creation of social networking content. Down the road we may introduce additional special-purpose tools to support other content areas. But our focus will remain on technology. Our PXT users will remain in charge of content: they are responsible for creating their content – be it personal or commercial in nature, for managing that content, and for deciding who does and doesn't see it. We never look at our users' content, advertisers never see it, and we don't store it on our servers. The content belongs to our users."
Because Zurado does not store personal profiles, users must download them to their own computers and mobile phones after they are created. When users return to edit their profiles, they must first upload them. The template provided by Zurado manages uploading and downloading operations.
In typical online sites personal profiles reside on servers where they are browsed over the internet by users who are registered on those sites. By contrast, PXT profiles actually reside on the information supplier's mobile phone and they are accessed directly by nearby information consumers via a Bluetooth link.
With PXT there is no need for information consumers or suppliers to register on a site. To become an information consumer one need only download the Probe software. Similarly, to become an information supplier, one need only download Portal software and then create a profile by using the new social networking template.
Probe users don't need to know peoples' names or anything else about them in order to access their profiles; ordinarily they just need to be within 30 ft of them. Of course PXT information suppliers have access control capabilities in case they want to limit who can view their profiles. Probe software maintains a list of available profiles from which to choose. The list is automatically updated as people come in to and out of communication range.
While proximity-based social networking is no substitute for conversation, it can be a fun icebreaker for mixers, parties, conventions, and anywhere people gather. There are also business applications for PXT: it is well-suited for meetings, conferences, tradeshows, and job fairs where business people can exchange contact information and details about their jobs, the companies that they represent, and their individual skills, education, and professional backgrounds. Assistive technology is another area where PXT may be helpful. The elderly and those with various cognitive, communication, and social impairments can use PXT Portal to convey details about their lives and their conditions to caregivers, friends, and loved ones. There are other medical uses too: PXT can provide information about existing conditions, prescriptions taken, known allergies to food and medications, and other health-related details.
Beta versions of PXT Probe and PXT Portal software for Windows Mobile devices are available for download from Zurado Systems at no charge. Downloads and the PXT social networking template can be found at http://www.zurado.com.
About Zurado Systems
Based in Pleasanton, CA, Zurado is a technology company that develops wireless, proximity-based information systems for the consumer, business, and entertainment markets. For more information, go to http://www.zurado.com.
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