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.
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.
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.
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.