The main idea of such systems is that they are
- useful locally : they stimulate the development of connexions between persons on a given place or neighborhood :
- their output = development of new projects, partnership building, local business transactions, meeting new people, involvement and participation in local activities and projects
- they connect people who share :
- a common event (exhibition, meeting, forum, conference, trade show)
- or a common area (district, city, business area, public place or infrastructure)
- tools in the hands of facilitators and mediators, people who act as hubs and networkers, so that these people can generate a wider and more efficient scope of socialization
- technical innovations because they rely on emerging technologies such as social software (including blogging), advanced identity management, semantic technologies, knowledge technologies, …
Potential issues : Privacy of data generates important legal and technical difficulties ; data describing individual is precious and difficult to access and manage with good-enough privacy guarantees ; there is a high risk that these systems won’t be used the way they were intended to ; change management is an issue when working with local organizers/networkers/mediators who tend to discard technical innovations as not-enough-human and/or fear for their jobs ; these technologies are far from mature !
Potential market #1 : social networking during events :
- Sector : professional events marketing and organization, with organizers of trade shows, of conferences, meeting events
- Profile of a sponsor : a company with a very « high-tech » profile on its market, with the will and characteristics of an innovator
- Issues at stake : Event makers say the main value they provide is the social connexions their event provides to their customers ; they want to facilitate the connexion between exhibitors and participants or between participants themselves ; they want to make these connexions persistent after the end of the event ; their purpose may be to enhance the satisfaction of exhibitors and/or participants.
- But… I don’t know this sector so your feedback and ideas are appreciated !
- Example of such a business : Jambo for conferences
Potential market #2 : social network for local development
- Sector : urban planning and local development, with a public agency (national agency for urban renewal, regional council, public institution), or para-public organization (non-profit, « hybrid economy company » delivering services to cities) in charge of the development of a given area
- Issues at stake : In the field of local development, one big target is to develop sustainable social or business relationships in a given area. But local developers only act indirectly on these relationships : urban planning, area marketing, public services, … In the best situations, their mediation and networking efforts hardly rely on human handcraft. The issue at stake is to systematize and extend these networking practices and to exploit the address books of local actors at their best.
- But… social software are « hard » industrial tools applied to a « soft » issue ; they aren’t seen as useful because the tools are here but the profitable uses are not validated. And fortunately, public agencies don’t invest money on « soft » issues handled with industrial tools !