Collecting Business Cards, The Digital Way

PHOTO: Jason A. HowieDo you like exchanging business cards, but don’t know how to efficiently organize the information they contain? Applications like CamCard and CardMunch make exchanging business cards easy by taking the information from the card and adding it directly into your smartphone.

CardMunch for iOS devices

 

How would you like to attend a networking event and gather contact information without having to collect any cards at all? Those with a LinkedIn account can use the free application called CardMunch to snap a photo with their iPhone to capture full contact information and then hand the card back to its owner.

CardMunch doesn’t use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) as many other business card utility apps do. Instead, it transmits the card image to a team of human (that’s right, human!) transcribers at LinkedIn.

According to PCMag.com, to ensure accuracy, every card goes through at least three transcriptions through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, which employs a global staff. It may take a little more time to go from paper business card to detailed contact information on your iPhone — transcription may take a few minutes or up to several hours.

The information you get for each contact depends on the person’s LinkedIn status. With non-members, you’ll typically get exactly the information that appears on the business card, while with LinkedIn members you’ll get their full LinkedIn profile and an indicator of how closely you are connected with them.

To search for a contact, just start typing their name. With each letter typed, the list narrows to include only first names, last names, or company names that start with the letters you’ve typed. You can also turn your iPhone on its side to get a carousel view of the cards you’ve scanned that you can flip through.

Tap the envelope icon on the contact page and an email message will appear, pre-filled with standard text, including your LinkedIn profile page URL. Before sending, you can rewrite the text to say whatever you want.

You can also access a menu to forward contact information into another email account, save information to your iPhone’s contact list, delete the contact, or resubmit the card for transcription again. If you select “Auto Save to iPhone,” your contacts will get saved both within CardMunch and in your phone’s built-in contact list.

Although CardMunch has many pros, there are also a few cons — you must be a LinkedIn member to use it, its use is limited to devices running iOS 4.0 or later, and there is no way to do a bulk transfer of the files to your PC, according to DEVsource.com.

PHOTO: Flickr user TwisterMc

 

CamCard Business Card Reader for Androids

 

According to blogger Jack Wallen of Tech Republic, CamCard Business Card Reader easily transfers business card information into Android contacts — perfect for busy networkers who collect dozens of business cards.

Like all business scanning apps, CamCard uses the camera of an Android phone to take a picture of a business card, and then processes it on the phone. One handy feature of CamCard is its “Batch Mode,” which is its capability to quickly capture a whole stack of business cards and process them all later. Business cards are saved in CamCard in the “Card Holder.” Once your cards are in Card Holder, you can long-tap on any of them to call, SMS, or email the contact.

But CamCard isn’t just an app. If you sign up for Cloud Sync, all your business cards can be synchronized to the company’s Cloud Sync server, which allows access to your cards on any iOS or Android device, or online. When saving your cards with CamCard, you can also have them exported to the address book on your phone, or to iCloud, Gmail, or Exchange. One or multiple cards can also be exported to CSV, Excel, or vCard, and you can use the card to surf their website, search LinkedIn, or request to add them as a contact.

Just Snap It

Think business cards are old school? Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s the way they are collected and how their information is managed with smartphone applications that makes them relevant and essential tools for business networking.

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