Are business cards dead? Smartphones, social networks, and internet-driven telephone systems are driving more people to manage their professional and personal contacts digitally. In fact, market research firm IBISWorld recently reported that orders for business cards in 2011 were off 13 percent from five years earlier.
The likelihood is most small-business owners are caught between these two worlds.
The good news is there are many mobile applications emerging to help manage business card information – regardless of whether you are trying to convert a stack of paper cards or consolidate digital contacts spread across multiple databases and social networks. Here are six popular tools you should consider.
Bump (iOS, Android; Free) – You can share contact information using the Bump mobile app by tapping your smartphone against another Bump-enabled mobile device. The app works cross-platform (from iPhone to Android devices, for example) and it connects contacts with relevant Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.
CamCard (iOS, Android; $6.99) – At 15 million downloads and counting, the highlight of this app from IntSig Information is the way it handles batch scanning of business cards. You can photograph a whole series of cards with your smartphone and then finalize them later. Other apps require you to recognize each image immediately. CamCard can also convert your contact information into a QR code.
CardCloud (iOS, Android; Free) – A mobile app for sharing “an infinite stack” of digital business cards wirelessly between iPhones and Android smartphones. You can share card information with people who use other smartphones by emailing it via the CardCloud service.
CardMunch (iOS; Free) – Offered by LinkedIn, CardMunch pulls info from physical business cards into your LinkedIn social network and contact database. The cards that you scan are transcribed manually by humans for improved accuracy. Android and BlackBerry editions are in the works, according to the company’s Web site.
ScanBizCards (iOS, Android, Windows Phone; $4.99 to $6.99, depending on OS) – Two highlights of this business card scanning application include its ability to export contacts into Salesforce.com accounts and support for side-by-side editing with the imported data on one side and the image on the other. You can also export the data to Excel and integrate it with Skype.
WorldCard Mobile (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile; $5.99 to $9.95, depending on OS) – This application uses optical recognition on your smartphone to scan cards into your contact database quickly. Various reviews say it has one of the most accurate recognition engines available. WorldCard integrates with iCloud and Dropbox for storage and supports 16 languages. Another highlight: Built-in QR code recognition.