LoKast 3.0: Digital Spaces for Physical Places

@Nina | Social

Don’t call it an upgrade. According to Boris Bogatin, LoKast’s CEO, LoKast 3.0 is a complete revamp. The original LoKast application introduced the idea of an “elastic network”, and LoKast 3.0 takes it quite a few steps further, making it more, well, elastic.

We’ve discussed location-based technology before; how social networking sites like Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, Scvngr have incorporated it to allow users to share not just what they’re doing, but where they’re doing it, and how brands can take advantage of it while weighing the pros and cons.

LoKast 3.0 (launching on iPhone) takes location-based services to a whole new level by allowing you to digitally connect your physical life. Instead of trying to figure out how to easily connect in the physical world through SMS, social networks, e-mail, or various other tools that just don’t work very well when in physical settings, with LoKast, you can instantly create and join social “Spaces” with the people that are also in the same physical locations with you. To start or join these social “Spaces” is easier than sending an SMS (yes, sending an SMS to a friend). You don’t need others’ addresses, as everyone’s address is their physical proximity to you – you just pick them out, or they you. And everyone you meet on LoKast through these Spaces remains in your contacts, so you’re able to message and share media no matter how far apart you may travel.

Users have the option of joining Spaces created by others in the same location or host their own Space that others can join independently or by invitation. You’re also able to invite others who are in your Network, but not “Here” presently, to join. As a host, you are the “synchronizer” of everyone in the Space – you control who gets invited, who gets kicked out, and your voice is always heard.

LoKast is designed to match the nature of physical interactions. First, LoKast is 100% real-time and proximity contextual, so you never experience delays in discovery of information – messages are received the moment they are sent, as is media, whether 1 video or 10 photos – the entire application is 100% real-time. This matches the instant gratification of physical interactions – the ones that result from our 5 very real-time senses. Further, Boris Bogatin and team have shifted LoKast toward conversation, with media sharing being the enhancer and not the only thing, since physical social networking (or any social networking for that matter) is first and foremost premised on communication.

Boris and company have also based LoKast off the remaining founding principles of social networking, applied to proximity – the right medium for interaction and organization, the right people and grouping. How many times have you hesitated responding to someone’s Facebook status because you weren’t sure of who was privy to it, or thought twice about your own statuses / Tweets because you weren’t sure how relevant it would be to the myriad of people who follow you? With LoKast, you can be sure that the people in your Space share the same interests and care about your content simply by being there. Think: conferences, social events, rallies, concerts, etc. Finally, LoKast is doing the next “revolution” in social networking – group social networking – done right. Shifting it away from “creating” groups through invites and spurious context, which have generally been fairly ineffective means of forming groups, to simply mapping “digital Spaces” to physical settings where groups have formed naturally around strong physical context and through physical intent actions (ie. I want to go there), so users simply join-in groups that just map to what they have decided on physically.

Aware that privacy within social media has become a large concern and is also a very important part of physical interactions, Boris points out that the new LoKast provides full privacy controls consistent with desired real-world socializing. Private conversations between two people remain personal and only accessible by the two of them, while group conversations can be set to public, private, or by invite only. Hosts have the maximum control and determine how others view and join their Spaces – and then how they participate within them. Users can also choose to be visible or invisible to unwelcome others, and always have full control in how and to whom they present themselves while using the app. Alerting is managed consistent with relationship types, ensuring sufficient information is received from people you care about, but without sensory overload from situations you don’t or from people who you do not know as well just yet.

LoKast 3.0 could very well change the way people interact in physical locations and how businesses interact with (and cater to) their customers by allowing them to creates spaces not confined to four walls.

To kick off LoKast’s new look and features, users have an opportunity to win VIP tickets to the LoKast party, celebrating its graduation from Beta phase and eventual launch on Android devices. You can find more information and enter for your chance to win on Facebook.

View this LoKast 3.0 demo by Boris Bogatin: