My name is Tiberius Brastaviceanu, I am a Product Developer from Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, California). Here is some good news for the Dating Industry. A new and revolutionary social interaction device is now available for dating companies.
The Matchmaking Device System (Patent Pending)
Overview of the context of application
Nowadays, in the digital era, people can extend their social networks beyond their geographical area. A great number of online communities that satisfy various social needs have appeared on the Internet space. Moreover, telecommunication technology offers individuals the possibility to maintain contact over unlimited distances. Currently, an interesting merger between Internet and wireless technology is taking shape. Not only can people get in contact by using wireless devices while being mobile, but they can also get notice about the whereabouts of their acquaintances, using wireless devices with integrated geographical locators (like GPS for example), or Bluetooth technology. Nevertheless, low-cost wireless technology can also allow individuals that share similar interests to meet in the most diverse places. This is what the Matchmaking Device System is all about. This invention combines wireless technology and Internet into a very low-cost device, and enables individuals in densely populated resorts, at large gatherings, in nightclubs, in densely populated urban settings, etc., to be aware of nearby individuals sharing similar interests, and to decide to meet them based on their compatibility.
The Matchmaking Device matches two persons according to a set of criteria. It can take any shape or form, and has a built-in electronic device with short-range communication capability. It signals the compatibility between two users, whenever their Matchmaking Devices come into their range of communication. These Matchmaking Devices can be used in social events like singles parties for example, in which case they can take the form of drinking glasses, bracelets, buttons, etc., and the compatibility refers to interpersonal relationships. They can also be used on tourist resorts, cruises, clubbing areas, and other places where there are an important number of individuals looking to socialize or exchange ideas with others that share similar interests. Used in combination with any type of organization that can constitute an online community, this type of device brings this virtual community into real life.
Important characteristics of the Matchmaking Device System
The Matchmaking Device System is a very low-cost device used to improve social interaction, and to enrich the experience of individuals in a specific social event. Its most important characteristics are:
# Awareness of the presence of strangers that share similar interests within a reduced spatial area.
Indication of the matching probability or compatibility between these strangers.
# Wide domain of application due to the general definition of matching probability or compatibility. It is able to match any set of human interests: it can be used in dating events, in scientific reunions, in schools, on tourist resorts, in densely populated urban settings, etc.
# A computer does all the data processing, freeing the Matchmaking Device from this task, and allowing in the same time a very low-cost technical solution.
# Intended primarily for specific social events. That helps to overcome the problem of the critical mass associated with other technologies used for social interaction, and intended for use in the general population. Considering its low cost, the device can be distributed to all participants of a specific event.
The Matchmaking Device is designed to be fun to use, simple to manipulate, easy to interpret, and reliable. Considering other similar products already on the market, the Matchmaking Device System is unique in many ways:
# In order to fulfill their purpose, products in this category must be distributed to a large number of individuals to generate a practical probability level of encounters. This is one of the biggest hurdles that this type of device faces when it is introduced to the market: to attain the critical mass. The Matchmaking Device System is intended primarily for use in specific social contexts, where, due to its low cost, it can be distributed at once to a large percentage of participants. This makes this product unique in its category!
# As opposed to other products, the Matchmaking Device System is not primarily marketed for the general population, although use in the general population is possible and easy to implement once the product becomes known. The targeted customer is an enterprise that offers services to large groups of people at once (nightclubs, tourist resorts, party organizers, etc), and the product is used to augment their services, and to enrich the experience of their clients. The Matchmaking Device System adds value to the services of these enterprises, and for some of them it can become an important or even an indispensable item.
# The general definition of matching probability or compatibility makes this product very versatile; it can adapt to a great variety of applications with no need to modify its hardware. That allows a great diversification with little investment.
Potential licensers of the Matchmaking Device System are also interested in the long-term expectations of this product. Our market study shows that the most promising application is in the dating industry (see the following section). We recommend this specific market for the first introduction of the Matchmaking Device System. The target costumers in this case are nightclubs, singles party organizers, web-based enterprises offering dating services
, tourist resorts, cruise ships, etc. The Matchmaking Device System ads value to the services offered by these enterprises operating in these industries, by enhancing the experience of their customers, which are also users of this product. Once the licenser gets a feedback from the market, the Matchmaking Device can be adapted for a variety of other applications, with no modifications required for the hardware, and only minor software adaptations. It can be used in schools to match students with similar academic interests, in scientific meetings to match the attendants, in densely populated urban areas for the general population, etc. On the other hand, the modular structure of its electronics permits easy improvements, and easy additions of new features. The diversification of the product can benefit from its promised success in the dating industry. The Matchmaking Device System offers the licensor the opportunity for market growth by product development and diversification. It shows all the signs for a bright future.
There is a fundamental pattern of human behavior in social contexts that transcends culture. In the mean time, we all agree that social interaction, individual interests, and the expectations that one has from a stranger, are all modulated by the cultural background. Considering the ability of the Matchmaking Device System to adapt to a great variety of applications with only minor software adaptations, this makes this product universal; it can be soled on the entire planet.
The Matchmaking Device System offers great competitive advantages. First, there is no other equivalent product on the market. Second, there is a huge and diverse market for it. Third, it can be produced at a very low cost. Forth, it overcomes the problem of the critical mass. Sixth, in can be easily diversified.
Can we approximate how many Matchmaking Devices can be sold, and at what price? Judging on the success of Lovegety, a social interaction gadget introduced in Japan (350,000 sold in the first two months, 25$ apiece), we can safely say that people are willing to pay between 10 and 20 $ for a Matchmaking Device. Dating events organizers, nightclubs, tourist resorts, cruise ships, are willing to pay from 5 to 10 $ apiece and include it in their service packages. The cost price, if mass-produced in China, is around 2$ apiece. The volume can be approximated from the market size. Applications of the Matchmaking Device System
The Matchmaking Device System can find applications in different industries.
# Air, rail, water, scenic and sightseeing transportation (NAICS: 481, 482, 483, 487)
# Educational services (NAICS: 611)
# Amusement gambling and recreation (NAICS: 713)
# Accommodation (NAICS: 721)
# Food services and drinking places (NAICS: 722)
# Dating services (NAICS: 8129902)
It appears that the Dating market is the most promising for the introduction of the Matchmaking Device System.
The Air Industry
has already considered matching their customers according to their interests, and profession. They enrich the experience of their passengers by offering them the possibility to choose a seat next to a person of interest. One good example is Airtroductions.com. Flyers matchmaking constitutes a positive spin to the painful experience of being trapped into the seat for hours at the time, next to a stranger that might even be unfriendly. The Matchmaking Device System can be adapted for the air travel industry, and distributed by carriers to all passengers. The demand is real, as demonstrated by the success of Airtroductions.com.
The Matchmaking Device System can be introduced in schools
to match students with similar academic interests. Signs of a need for tools intended to improve social interaction in the academic environment are already visible (some examples: Workshoplive.com, Studychum.com, and Universityfriendfinder.com). The Matchmaking Device System can be adapted to suit the needs of students as well as those of the schools administrators. It can be designed to match students not only based on academic interests, but also integrating all sorts of interests related to after school activities, sports, music, etc. The school administrators can find this product very attractive as the MD Locator (part of the Matchmaking Device System) gives them the possibility to monitor and to control student behaviors and orientations.
It is also easy to imagine applications in the Amusement Gambling and Recreation Industry
. Making new contacts can interest individuals that attend amusements and recreation facilities. The Matchmaking Device System can enhance the experience of Disneyland’s visitors.
The Accommodation Industry
looks even more promising. More and more people travel for business, and some of them travel a lot, and alone. Sometimes, their hotel room becomes a cell of solitude. Some hotels have sensed the problem and help lonely customers to find a partner for sport activities, for diner, or simply for a nice conversation at the lounge. SoHo Metropolitan Hotel offers “Solo at the Soho Met” a service that pairs up guests for shopping, sporting events, theatre and sightseeing. The Matchmaking Device System adapted to this application can be a great solution to this growing problem. The hotel could distribute a Matchmaking Device with the room key, and in conjunction with their already existing matchmaking systems, the Matchmaking Device would enables spontaneous encounters with a match-person in the elevator, at the lobby, at the bar, or in the morning during breakfast. The accommodation industry has already considered the matchmaking solution to a growing problem, showing that there is place for this Matchmaking Device System.
The industry of Food Services and Drinking Places
is the closest one to the dating industry. People go out in nightclubs to socialize. That is their primary goal when they decide to pay over 10$ cover charge just to enter a nightclub. An event where socializing is the main scope is home to social interaction devices. A great numbers of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, are very keen to use them. The Matchmaking Glass System was designed precisely for this kind of application. For applications in the Food Services and Drinking Places Industries, the Matchmaking Device System is purchased directly by actors in this industry.
This brings us to the Dating Industry
. Dating organizations, have a database of singles that are profiled and matched to other singles. From there, a very complex network of dating activities expands. Some of these activities remain technologically mediated, or somehow virtual: chatting and video-chatting, emailing, talking on the phone, sending pictures, etc. Others reach into the real live: dining, dancing, meeting in a bar or in a coffee place, going to see a movie, taking a walk in a park, playing a favorite sport, and even going in organized tours and vacations for singles. The Dating Industry reaches into the Food Services and Drinking Places Industry, Accommodation Industry, Recreation Industry, and even the Travel Industry. All real live dating events are home for social interaction devices. Dating events organizers are keen to use different strategies to make people interact, and members of dating communities appreciate all the fun things that make them better connect with others. For applications in the Dating Industry, the Matchmaking Device System is distributed by the dating company to social event organizers, to be used at their specific locations. The Matchmaking Device can be custom-designed for the dating company licensing this product-idea. It puts the licensor dating company in the middle of the party. It facilitated its connection with real life social events, without any direct involvement in the organization of such events, by partnering with those that do it best: club owners, singles parties organizers, actors in the tourist industry, etc. If well orchestrated and well designed, the Matchmaking Device has the potential to make giant waves, and become the “coolest” social interaction gadget. Working with the licensor’s Internet-based profiling and matchmaking systems, it will draw people to their websites. If everybody at the party has it, everyone will want it! This is the perfect product that will intensify members’ activity, increase conversion, and at the same time improve retention and reduce churn. It will do that by pooling users to their dating websites, by enhancing the dating experience, and by improving interactivity and the sense of community. Furthermore, social event organizers are also drawn to their websites, as they try to reach members of your online communities, who are at the same time their clients.Market tendencies
A study published in April 2006 by Marketdata Enterprises Inc. shows that dating website revenues grew only 4.5% in 2005, off-line chains and matchmakers are posting moderate growth, but radio datelines and print personals continue to slide.
The Right One and Together Dating, the largest brick and mortar company providing dating services, are now offering online services by introducing eLove.com. This is a very logical move, since offline matchmakers, with plenty of background experience in this field, realized the potential of the technology. The arrival of the Internet opened new possibilities that could be applied for dating purposes, but it did not replaced the need for in-person assistance of matchmakers, and for singles events organizers. It seems that a well-integrated hybrid model is the most promising one, as it overcomes the limitations of both, only online dating, and only offline dating. Users can access a very large database of singles, browse very complete profiles, use very sophisticated automated matchmaking systems, and contact other users under the veil of anonymity; all in a secure environment that reduces misrepresentation. The same users can also get individual and personal assistance and guidance in their quest for love. I believe that this is a trend that will only intensify in the future. Companies that operate only online will not disappear completely, although these operating with the hybrid model and that can make a profit from it, are poised to gain market share. But there is another component to the dating business, the real life dating events. A singles party, for example, offers a very different kind of environment, where people interact with one another in a natural way. Speed dating, singles vacations, It's Just Lunch, Airtroductions.com, DateAGolfer.com, etc. are examples of a hybrid model between online and/or offline dating and social event organizing.
Dating is a very complex activity. Companies in this industry have to find a way to address issues from each dimension of this complex problem. Elegant solutions have been implemented, that don’t require large investments. One very good example is the association between Match.com and ClubMed. Moreover, the Matchmaking Device System presents itself as a very clever way to connect with life social events. It enables dating companies to develop a vast network of relations with social events organizers, as it presents itself as a valuable tool for them. Furthermore, it connects users (daters present at the social event) to the dating company in a direct manner, and it puts the dating company at the center of the dating event.
We have to realize that the informal dating segment is larger then formal dating. Less then 40% of single and looking Internet users in the U.S. are using dating websites. That means that more then 60% of Internet users, that are in the same time singles and looking, search for love in real life social events, through their social network, around their workplace, at the church, etc. Dating companies have to find ingenious ways to tape this vast reservoir, and to bring daters who don’t use their services to their websites. To reach daters, companies rely mostly on traditional marketing techniques, but other non-conventional methods can be much more efficient. The Matchmaking Device is present at life social events where daters are in action, and this is the perfect moment to present them with other dating alternatives, as their attention is focused on dating.
"If you're shooting to become one of the mega-brands in the online space, I believe you need, aside from a major marketing budget, a very innovative approach to community that will solve some specific problems that even the large communities face
" (Michael Jones founder and CEO of Userplane, a leading provider of web-community applications in the social software space). The Matchmaking Device System can be seen as a very powerful promotional item. It stands out at the event where it is used, owing only to it’s functionality. If well designed, it will stand out in the public eye, becoming a marketing tool. Judging on the success of Lovegety, a low coast social interaction gadget introduced in Japan (350,000 sold in the first two months, 25$ apiece), we can safely predict that that Matchmaking Device has great potential to become the “coolest” social interaction gadget. Moreover, social events organizers are eager to include it in their toolbox. Furthermore, the device itself constitutes an “innovative approach to community
”. It is a social interaction device operating in the real world; it is definitively a community binder element. The concept of community transcends the virtual world. The sense of belonging, and the strength of a community are improved as the interaction between members becomes more diverse, especially if it integrates real life events. The goal is to find ways to offer costumers a rich and meaningful experience. Internet-based dating companies have to find ways to connect with real life dating events. Evan Marc Katz says: "The quest for love has never been stronger [...] As a result, dating coaches and matchmakers gain traction in 2006. In addition, online dating sites galvanize to create more live events -- dinner parties, speed dating, cruises -- designed to increase customer interaction
." -- Katz, founder of E-Cyrano.com, is a personal trainer for online daters who are looking for love. His site is evanmarckatz.com.
A relationship between two people is shaped by interaction. As technology became more advanced, we saw the progressive integration of more complex and rich means of communication and expression. It went from plain text, to sound and pictures, and more recently to video, and video-chatting. All these new implementations met only success, even if they ware regarded by some with scepticism. Giving members more freedom of communication, and the possibility of getting in contact by means other then those offered on the dating site, was initially viewed as counterproductive from a business point of view. Michael Jones adds: “A better approach to online dating will not use the website as a method of controlling contact but as a platform/environment to provide users with a more intimate and safe online setting
”. Reality showed that members of online dating websites continue to pay their monthly fees, and talk positively about the website, in accordance with the benefits they take in return, and not because they are obliged to stay as members in order to maintain contact with their match. Those who integrated real life dating events to their services stroke the write note. Enriching the dating experience and providing a strong sense of community, this is the future. Connecting with offline dating events - examples
# DateAGolfer.com: organization of the world’s first International Singles Golf Tournament in Myrtle Beach (2006), and setting up singles golf leagues.
# Airtroductions.com: a new website that lets frequent flyers choose their seatmates.
# Dinnerpoint.com, a London-based website arranges group meals for business travellers at restaurants in the United Kingdom, Paris, New York and other cities around the world.
# It's Just Lunch: It's Just Lunch is a fun proactive approach to personal life. As first date &^%$#$^, they arrange quality lunch dates and drinks after work for busy professionals in a discreet, no-pressure setting. It's Just Lunch started in 1991 and now has over 90 locations all over the world, with thousands of clients, and many wonderful success stories.
# SoHo Metropolitan Hotel: “Solo at the Soho Met
” pairs up guests for sporting events, shopping, theatre and sightseeing.
# Planetout, offering dating services to gays and lesbians. They are advantaged by a very strong community factor, due to the strong connection between gay and lesbians. They also include on their site community listing and offline events.
# Yahoo! Personals
# January 23, 2006: Starbucks and Yahoo Personals have agreed to cross-market each other's services until Valentine's Day, with Yahoo launching the "Espresso Dating Guide" co-branded site, writes MediaPost. Users can go to the site to get dating advice, find Starbucks locations, and receive a $10 Starbucks gift card for subscribing to Yahoo Personals - the most-visited U.S. dating site, according to comScore.
# September 20, 2004: Yahoo! Personals and the Improv are joining together to bring "Comedy of Dating" events to 18 cities across the country. Comedian Richard Jeni, five of the comics from the reality show Last Comic Standing and several other headliners will offer their views on all the quirks that come with starting new relationships while sharing a laugh about that fun-filled relationship stage known as "dating." Yahoo! Personals users can get special deals for the "Comedy of Dating" events at Improv comedy clubs in Baltimore, Brea, Cleveland, Dallas, Hollywood, Houston, Irvine, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Miami, Ontario, Orlando, Palm Beach, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa, Tempe and Washington, D.C. A full schedule of the tour, along with Jeni's "Top Ten Dating Do's and Don'ts" can be found online at http://personals.yahoo.com/comedy, where consumers can also enter for a chance at a luxury trip for two to Hollywood for the taping of Jeni's HBO special in November.
# Yahoo! Go
# November 7, 2002: Match.com , a global leader in online dating, and Club Med, the expert in all-inclusive vacations, have teamed up to offer unique travel vacations for singles through MatchTravel.com . Upcoming "Singles Mingle" vacations will be held at Club Med Cancun, Mexico and Club Med Turkoise, Turks and Caicos, offering singles an adventurous way to meet and mingle with other singles in exotic destinations. Other social interaction products
# September 17, 2002: Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a national retailer of quality outdoor gear and clothing, today announced it has partnered with Match.com, a global leader in online dating, to provide REI Adventures trips (www.rei.com/travel) exclusively to Match.com members.
# February 10, 2004: love is in the air, on the mind, and possibly on your wireless phone, thanks to Cingular Wireless' new partnership with Match.com . The happy couple, Cingular and Match.com, is offering the MatchMobile wireless dating service to Cingular's 24 million voice and data customers throughout the U.S.
# Aug. 30, 2004: In an unusual pairing, Mercedes- Benz USA and Match.com have teamed up to take advantage of the unique relationship between people and their cars, using cars as the "vehicles" for potential relationships at a unique event that took place Friday, Augupeek into the potential for, and dynamics of, a relationship. Each participant at the event took several potential mates for a spin to help determine if they could find love behind the wheel. The event took place at the LoveMercedes Tour stop at Gulfstream Park, Hallendale Beach, FL.
There is no doubt about the place on the market of social interaction devices. Il looks like a new trend that is here to stay for a while. There are social interaction systems that are “attached” to the computer, like ICQ, Google Talk, MSN, etc. Wireless technology with Internet connection allowed these systems to become mobile. High-tech devices like PDAs, cellular phones, and WI-FI embedded laptops, combine wireless technology, Internet connection, and computing power, and propose very interesting solutions for social interaction. The Matchmaking Device System doses not belong to that class. This system is designed primarily for use in a very specific social context. It is very low-cost, although very potent and versatile. It is designed to be part of the atmosphere, to by in the spirit of the event, to be carried and used by everybody. By its shape, color, and functionality, the Matchmaking Bracelet, Glass, Key Chain, Necklace, are part of that event, of that specific experience, they are identified with the event. A cellular phone with matchmaking capability is a very interesting tool, but it will never become THE party, it will never stand out.
Short-range wireless-enabled (radio transceiver) devices
Based on mobile phone and bluetooth technologies
# Nokia Sensor
# Easy Jack
# SmallPlanet's CrowdSurfer
Based on PDA and GPS
# Based on Wi-Fi enabled laptop
# 6th Sense