TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Breaking the Ice 2.0

Breaking the Ice 2.0

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 16 Nov 2004 11:58:34 -0500

Forget the bland name sticker: The interactive nTAG is giving
strangers something to talk about as they network at social events

By Diane E. Lewis, Globe Staff

Schmoozing can be a trial for the shy, reclusive, and socially
challenged. Even those who understand the power of networking
sometimes quake at the thought of a roomful of strangers.

But a Boston company has come up with a solution that helps break the
ice at big meetings. All participants need to do is enter some
personal information into an electronic file before the meeting or
event: place of employment, alma mater, job title, hobbies, or, for
sports lovers, the name of the team they rooted for during the World
Series. An electronic name tag then helps get conversations going.

The brainchild of Boston inventor Rick Borovoy, the product is called
nTAG: It measures 4 inches wide and 3 inches high, and hangs around
the conventioneer's neck from an adjustable lanyard. Wearing the nTAG
is a bit like sporting a tiny, six-ounce TV screen, except the screen
beams messages to fellow conventioneers like, "Hi, Jane, I like
strawberry ice cream, too."

For those who do their networking at cocktail hour, when the lights
are dim and the bar is stocked, the nTAG lights up in the dark. It
uses infrared sensing, radio frequency identification, a screen, and
three control buttons to connect people with mutual interests or
needs, including people who might otherwise gravitate toward folks
they already know or hover around a buffet table instead of employing
the art of schmooze.

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