This series of articles provides advice on how to cut down on
the use of paper in the modern workplace. In startup working
environments, many of us have reached the conclusion that unless
necessary, paper is a source of clutter while being a detriment to
In this post, I'll address ways to get rid of business cards and turning them into digital images organized for easier search and communication with friends and business contacts.
One goal many ways
Some technical solutions for turning paper business cards into digital images are easy and cheap, like using the digital camera of your mobile phone; other, like a business cards scanner, are more costly and complicated, but tailored for the job.
Your mobile the easiest and least costly
a study by Statista, mobile phone sales have seen exponential
growth with a smartphone boom continuing for nearly 5 years with
sales are close to 30% of total phone sales in 2012 as compared to
12% in 2008. This number is still likely to increase up to half the
overall mobile sales, after 2014. Fortunately, there
are several smartphone applications that can help digitize
This application costs $7 and is available for iOS, Android,
Blackberry and Windows Phone.
(Note: we've tested the application on iOS 6 on an iPhone.)
CamCard allows you to photo-scan business cards with your mobile phone; it then recognizes the card's name, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses, and transforms this data into a digital business card on your phone.
This application’s special feature is that it enables you to add
the data taken from the business card to your phone's memory,
Address Book, or many of the Cloud services like Gmail that help
you save your contacts.
Business Card Scanners
Another available option is are specialized (but expensive) scanners for saving business cards. These pieces of equipment are suitable for companies and other bigger business environments that handle large numbers of business cards or want to save such data in more specialized databases or on common platforms that a large number of employees share.
These solutions provide a more efficient way of recognizing card content, and they save digital copies of the recognized data to specialized databases, exchange services, the Outlook application and several other options.
Many brands are available on the market like WorldCard, CardScan, and IRIScan Anywhere. Some of them work through the USB port of a computer while the others are wireless. While the application’s cost is limited to a few dollars, the more specialized devices range between $100 and $400 USD.
Or be digital from the beginning?
In an era when your signature at the
end of an email constitutes a partial alternative to the business
card, some ideas offer an easy altenative to wielding a hard copy
business card, or at least offer a combination of digital and paper
information. One tactic is the QR Code, or quick
response code, which is easy to create using one of several free
applications that create a square shape that can be sent as a
digital image or printed on a paper business card. The QR Code
contains specific signals that contain the same data on a business
card, and is readable using a smartphone QR scanner application. So
if you’re designing a new business card, think about adding a QR
Code to grab some attention while making it easier for your new
acquaintances to access your data.