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Better Than a Pile Up: A Review of 3 Business Card Reader Apps

So, you’re gearing up for your next big networking event and when you return to your home or office, you are guaranteed to have more business cards than you know what to do with.

If you’re like most, the cards usually end up accumulating in a pile on your desk. And there they sit. I probably don’t have to tell you what happens next – the cards just sit there until you get tired of looking at them, then you toss ‘em.

There’s a better way to manage all the information you collect during networking events: Business Card Reader Mobile Apps – and there are plenty to choose from.

I’ve taken a closer look at a few to give you the inside scoop on how they work and some key features. Keep in mind: most business card readers have the same bassic function – you open the app, take a horizontal picture and software like OCR technology extracts the data. The data is then returned to you or automatically entered into the contacts menu of your mobile device.

Now, a closer look at some of the additional features some business card readers offer.

WorldCard Mobile

World Card Mobile is not free ($4.99), and I am partial to free or low cost apps, but for the price, users get a number of useful features, making the app worth the cost for iPhone 4/3GS users.

A key feature is it’s companion, WorldCard Contacts app which allows you to save the actual business card image in addition to having the data entered into your contact list.

When using the WorldCard Mobile and WorldCard Contacts apps together, users enjoy advanced functionality such as merging existing and new contacts together, capturing contact information from email signatures and social media integration.

CardMunch

If you’re not new to business card scanners, you’ve probably heard of CardMunch which made headlines in January 2011 when they were purchased by LinkedIn. This made CardMunch more powerful for two reasons: First, following the LinkedIn purchase, CardMunch became a free application eliminating the $2.99 purchase price and $.25 additional cost to scan cards beyond the initial limit of 10. Second, CardMunch allows users to send connection requests with your new contact through the app on LinkedIn with ease.
An additional feature that makes CardMunch stand out from other readers is their 100% guarantee of accuracy. According to CardMunch, after you take a picture of your business card, or anything with contact information, the data is transcribed by actual people and returned directly to your phone contact list within minutes. The guarantee of accuracy is definitely an added bonus for a free app.

CardMunch also has what it calls a CardFlow feature which means the actual image of each individual card is saved, and users can browse those images, and access additional information assigned those images making your rolodex even more digital.

ShoeBoxed

A standard in the world of business card scanners is ShoeBoxed’s business card reader. When users take a picture of their business cards using the ShoeBoxed app, the digital data is extracted and “verified” by humans. I don’t think it’s the same as transcription by humans like CardMunch, but I imagine it gets pretty close on accuracy. Also, contact information can be quickly intergrated into Constant Contact, SalesForce, Outlook and Batch Book, which is great.
What distinguishes ShoeBoxed from the others is their online account and premium version. The app, online account and premium service together gives users the ability to scan receipts and other types of documents which are then accessible either online or available for download as PDF and Excel documents. Additionally, data can be exported to Google Contacts and QuickBooks – proving very useful for managing expenses and accessing documents on the road.

So, clearly there are a lot of options. Decide whether you’re willing to spend money or are interested in an app with multiple or single functionality, and if you want an online experience to find a business card scanner that suits your needs. But by all means, don’t let those cards pile up on your desk!

This story was originally posted on ITMartini.com July 19, 2011. 

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Networking

 

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What’s in your networking tool kit?

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On the April 9 episode of Digital 411, I convened a great panel of networking pros to talk about what it takes to become a master networker. Frequently people think you have to be the most outgoing and gregarious person at an event to be a great networker — wrong! Rather than recap our discussion, I invite you to listen to the podcast and take notes, because the conversation was great!

What we didn’t get to talk about was your “networking tool kit.” What’s a networking tool kit you ask? It’s all the stuff you need to have easy access to and with you when attending just about any networking event or outing. I’m not saying everyone travels this way, but these are items I’ve found to be invaluable to have with me.

Business Cards

So, this one is a no brainer. And if you listened to Ryan Bauer on Digital 411, he’s not a big fan of receiving them — and in fact, reportedly saves them to burn for heat in the winter. None the less, have plenty of business cards with you.

As an aside, I don’t necessarily give my business card to everyone, and I don’t think you should feel compelled to do so either, but that’s completely up to you. Also, regardless of whether you’re unemployed or a student — get some business cards. There are relatively inexpensive options like Vista Print that can give you something to work with.

Mints or Gum

I can’t tell you how many networking events I’ve been to where I find myself trapped in a corner talking to somebody with breath smelling like a loaded baby diaper. Of course it’s not intentional and maybe they can’t help it (I hear there are actual disorders that cause this), but this can all be hemmed up by carrying a few mints or a pack of gum with you.

I prefer gum and pop a piece at the beginning of an event, and during each bathroom break. I might be a little OCD about it, but bad breath is memorable — and who wants to be remembered for loaded diaper breath?

Hand Sanitizer

I am not a germ-a-phobe, but I do keep a bottle attached to my person at all times.

This is so much more essential than what it might sound like at first glance. Keep in mind, you likely live in America and are expected to shake hands. And if you’re going to an event and hoping to meet new people, you’re going to seem really weird if you don’t shake hands. Remember:

Roomful of people + Lack of ventilation + Bodily Contact = Instant Illness. Trust, you’ll thank me for bringing this to your attention.

Water

The other day someone said to me, “Wow, you’re having a beer. That’s so weird because I’ve never seen you drink at networking events.” I wouldn’t say I “never” drink at networking events, but it’s obvious I don’t always drink alcoholic beverages when networking. My goal is to never be that person that gets way to hammered and clearly lose sight of my purpose for attending — to make a good impression with people I’ve never met.

And as I’m sure you know, alcohol doses not hydrate you and with all that talking, you get dry mouth and are basically asking for loaded baby diaper breath. #JustSayin!

Good Exit Line

Depending on your level of influence and the other person, you might find yourself trapped talking to some dude about some bull stick network marketing program they’re trying to rope you into and that sucks. That’s why having a good exit line is important. I’m not giving out my secret lines here — but I encourage you to come up with something that is courteous to politely excuse yourself from those conversations so you can circulate and work the room.

So, that’s what I have in my networking tool kit. What do you always have ready when going into settings to meet new people. I’m sure I’ve left some things out so feel free to share in the comments section.


 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in business, Networking

 

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