How to Banish Business Cards: A Ranked List of Digital Options
(Page 3 of 3)
put the info right into your phone’s address book, where it will be copied over to your computer at the next time you synch. There’s a cloud storage option—ScanBizCards will copy your card data to its own servers for safekeeping—and the app also connects to Evernote, allowing you to send card images straight into your notebooks.
One nice thing about ScanBizCards is that it hangs on to the original card images, and lets you search them or browse through them using a Cover Flow-like interface. And unlike Evernote, it makes the data on these images “actionable”—for example, you can touch a phone number on an image to make a phone call or touch an e-mail address on a card image to compose an e-mail. (One feature I love: if you’re running ScanBizCards on your iPad or iPod Touch, it automatically fires up Skype for phone calls.) On top of all that, ScanBizCards gives you a one-button way to do the standard things you should do after receiving a business card, such as sending an intro e-mail with your own contact info, sending the info on to a friend, sending a LinkedIn connection request, or creating a calendar reminder to follow up with the person. I’d say that’s a lot of features for a $6.99 app.
The best option of all: Bump. Okay, this one is cheating, because it doesn’t involve paper business cards at all—and maybe that’s the point of all this. Bump is a massively popular app for iPhones and Android phones that lets you transfer data from one device to another by literally bumping them together. (The way Bump explains this, the accelerometers in each device detect the bump; the company’s algorithms match up devices that felt the same bump at the same time and transfer the information from the sending device to the receiving device via the Internet and wireless networks.) Currently, Bump can transfer contact cards, calendar events, photos, and Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter handles.
The “contact card” is the part that could finally make the paper business card obsolete. The bumper can select any contact from his address book—most often, of course, it will be his own—and, upon bumping, that data will show up immediately in the bumpee’s address book. (Of course, the Bump app has to be running on both devices for this to work.) You can even bump an Android phone with an iPhone without causing a matter-antimatter explosion.
I love Bump, in part because it harkens back to the “beaming” feature of the old Palm line of PDAs. Starting with the Palm III in 1998, these devices had infrared ports that let you send address book and datebook entries from one Palm PDA to another wirelessly. I collected quite a few virtual business cards this way, back in the day, and beaming was one of the features that made me a Palm devotee for nearly a decade. I was still using a Palm Treo 650 as my cell phone up to mid-2007, when I switched to the iPhone, and it always puzzled me that you couldn’t do the same thing with the Apple devices. Well, now you can, and it’s even better.
If I were a bit more of an iconoclast, I’d stop taking or giving out cards altogether and insist that all of my new acquaintances Bump with me. But that would probably be bad etiquette. For now, those of us pursuing paperlessness will have to stick with a combination of old-fashioned and newfangled methods for managing our contact information. Including that old standby—the shoebox full of dog-eared business cards.
Trending on Xconomy
By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.