You never know when you'll wind up asking someone for a paper business card but when was the last time you actually consulted a Rolodex to find someone's phone number, address or email address?
With that being said, it seems as if my ever-growing electronic contact database continues to grow due to its simplicity and less “messy” look. To be honest though, I actually treasure those physical cards because I have somewhat of an obsession with business cards – their design, texture, graphics etc.
This nature of card-collecting makes managing them pretty tedious task, one that relies on either manual entry, a smartphone camera or even a miniature scanner to turn the information digital. With that in mind, here are a few mobile apps and services designed to make this process a little simpler.
- Bizz Card (Apple iOS; Free) - You can use this service to create an electronic identity that replaces paper cards, complete with sophisticated graphics. You "share" your card by swiping across your iPhone, which automatically generates an email message to send. If you have an existing card, you can capture the image to send electronically. This app is meant pretty much just for giving out your card, not for managing cards from other people.
- Flextown (Android, iOS; Starts at $65 for a single card) - Initially launched in Denmark, the service turns paper cards into one special Flextown physical card that can share its information using Near Field Communications. (There's also a QR code on the back that can be scanned to achieve the same purpose.) So, you don't technically hand out the card, you offer it to someone for them to scan with their smartphone. You can also share it via email, SMS or AirDrop. The cardholder gets an alert when someone accepts and stores his or her information. The service integrates with existing CRM applications.
- CamCard (Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone; Starts at $0.99 for app downloads plus the Web service) - Created by enterprise mobile developer INTSIG and widely used in Asia, this service is still officially in beta if you check the site. Like other offerings, it lets you scan a physical business card so that it can be added to a digital management system. The twist is that it supports augmented reality -- allowing you to attach text, video, graphics and and other documents to specific cards.
Zachary T. Brown