New Mobile Startup Targets Proximity Networking

by Son Huynh

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WhooznearSocial networking has become a global phenomenon. With networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (amongst many others) — people are able to interact with humans  across the globe from the comfort of their own home 24/7.

But with all these new means of digital communications, what happens to the real world interaction?

Whooznear is a new mobile startup founded by Richard Perry with the intention of bringing new people together by connecting them through a social platform.  Although smartphones have become a catalyst for decreasing face-to-face communication, Whooznear is actually targeting smartphone users to increase real person to person physical communication.

The Whooznear iPhone and Android app allow users to exchange up to 50 personal and professional attributes with other people around them. “While other networks aim to connect people worldwide, Whooznear simply wants to connect the room,” says Perry.

Using the app is simple; upon download, users can fill in information for the details that they want to share and omit that which they don’t. If the app is on, it will exchange that information automatically with other users nearby.

Whooznear is not the only app in this space (see: WhosHere), but is differentiated by the approach to privacy. Whoozenear does not retain any information, whereas only the users own information is saved locally on the phone. Any exchanged information is deleted after a set amount of time once the users are no longer in each other’s proximity.

Another differentiator is in the technology. Whooznear uses Bluetooth (not GPS) to limit the identification of and data exchange only with persons in the room, encouraging easier face-to-face communication and cutting down on unnecessary pings.  Whooznear’s proprietary algorithm simultaneously turns on/off Bluetooth across all phones to sync data. This method prevents the ongoing use of Bluetooth, which is a known battery drain.

Whooznear is currently in beta testing phase, and they have yet to work out how much the app will cost, but the plan is to launch a v1 of their product before presenting at this year’s Mobile 3D event.

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