There are moments when you really realise the difference in technology generations, and I had one of those moments over ‘Jaiku’. Jonathan, my eldest son, has the same feeling about Smart Phones that I had when I first met up with PCs, and started trying to figure out what they could do. You can find Jaiku by using a PC, and think it’s just another social networking site, but look more carefully, to discover it’s based in Helsinki with a load of ex Nokia people as founders.
You can get a clearer idea of what it’s all about by watching the video demo by a user. What he, and others, are doing on Jaiku seems, at first, to be really strange; it is basically real time reporting of what they are actually doing, written a sentence at a time. The interesting part that is not immediately apparent is that the Smart Phone is automatically adding a location to each posted comment, derived from the cell location in which the Smart Phone is connected.

The whole point of Jaiku is social networking by location as well as activity! Are you on summer holiday playing Volley ball on the beach in Marbella? Then so might be another Jaiku network ‘friend’, or if they are not actually playing Volley ball then they may be at least in Marbella, so a dinner or club get together might be good.
Location based real time social networking what a great new capability! Okay at this stage someone is going to tell me that this capability has existed for some time and give some other examples. But for me it’s new, and frankly not sure I would have got to know of it without Jonathan, because it’s found, passed on, and used by being part of another generation of technology users.
Back to Business again, all of this started me thinking about location based business roles, and there are a lot of them where this simple report back with a location would be adequate for event triggering. Take a Merchandiser, routinely visiting quite a large number of stores in a day to check and refresh a display. There is little to no value to be gained in setting this up as a full real time reporting application with a specialised reporting device, but using a Smart Phone Jaiku style? I would imagine that it’s quite enough to cover most situations where just a little more ‘real time’ information on the location and timing of a Merchandiser would be of value.
It’s the rest of the possibilities that I suspect would really add the value, Jaiku allows full integration to Web 2.0, and users are linking in their Flickr, Del.icio.us content. That allows the ability to see a photo of how the display should look in a particular area of store group, get a script to ask questions, or any number of other interesting, and potentially valuable things. All needing just a Smart Phone!
I wonder just how many more ‘Jaikus’ there are out there? Not even being picked up on the radar of us corporate professionals, not sure if this is a worrying or encouraging thought. Pretty well what those colleagues who laughed at my interest in PCs must have thought when they were applying Mini based applications to solve things.