Zokem automates lifestreaming from mobile phones, sharing everything possible: status, location, calendar, calls made, calls received, sms sent, sms received, and other relevant information to all major web services (including Facebook, Friendster, Fire Eagle, Friendfeed, Last.fm and Twitter), and directly to friends’ mobile phones.
Zokem is able to find the user geo-location automatically (running on the background of the phone) based on GPS, cellular network and WiFi hotspot triangulation, and contextual tags such as Bluetooth devices. The concept has been in development since 2006, the service being currently in closed beta with a public beta launch within two months.
After installing Zokem, it automatically tracks locations, status, movements, communications, media consumption, travel, calendar appointments, and other activities from the user’s daily life. In addition, users can share photos and send blog entries with the application. The degree of data show to contacts can so far be set for two groups: The public Internet (e.g. Facebook) and Friends (that you have invited to Zokem), the group functionality is under development. Thus a more more granular segmentation is still waiting for itself. I believe this is a crucial feature in any social network let alone in one that shows every single call you make and to whom it’s made.
According to Meri Kupiainen, Zokem COO, “Zokem is much more than just location sharing or micro-blogging. Effectively it is one integrated application doing all this, generating and sharing your comprehensive life feed openly to all major web services and to your friends, securely and automatically”. Nice, but is yet-another-lifestreaming-service necessary along with Jaiku (which goes open source), Bloggy.se, Twitter, Facebook lifestream and Loopt?
According to the founders the idea is not to create yet-another-lifestreaming-service. The user interface is still very rough and busy, except the iphone one, but as Kupiainen explained, the main idea of the service is not to get all the users spend their time under Zokem domain, but to push the information to other services.
Zokem wants it’s application in mobile phones to automatically inform you of interesting facts regarding your social network, something the other services do not provide yet to the extent that Zokem aims to do it. For example, Zokem automatically pops up a message, when any of your friends appears in the neighborhood, or if your friends are commenting something. In addition, Zokem can provide, for example, automatic weather forecasts related to your current location, regular notifications regarding locations of children or seniors, and informative wikipedia articles when you travel to new locations abroad. Zokem reminds me of Nokia’s vision that they came out with a good while ago with its emphasis on geo-data. This might not be such a bad strategy for Zokem if they’re looking for an early exit.
If the founders are not aiming for an early exit, viable business models don’t stop there. Selling user data or providing extremely targeted advertising based on the pipeful of information that the software collects from the users while it pipes it to the other services can be very valuable.
According to Kupiainen, Zokem’s team is already building the next version of the service, being able not only to share lifestreams in real-time, but also to predict near-future events and locations based on historical data (e.g. movement paths) or calendar information. This, while being rather scary if not properly managed and if the users are not properly educated on the possible implications, has a very big up side that many have talked about for years. This could be a big breakthrough as well as an enabler for other apps and services. Having said that, at the same time we’re starting to approach the very problematic scenario that Adam Greenfield describes in his book Everyware, where he outlines the extreme complexity to which ubiquitous-computing deliverables will expose us, as users.
We have 50 beta invites for the first 50 who will send an email to customerservice-at-zokem-dot-com with and put ‘ArcticStartup’ in the subject line.