Paper USB Business Card Lets You Track Usage

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The humble business card still hasn’t been killed off by digital alternatives. Being handed a piece of dead tree with contact details printed on it in ink arguably increasingly stands out in an age when digital data is so cheap and mutable.

But paper inevitably presents a barrier to accessing and utilizing the data thereon — hence alternatives such as QR code business cards, and business card scanning systems like CardMunch.

Well, here’s a third alternative in the making: SwivelCard is a paper business card that — by way of a spot of patented printing and some clever perforations — also includes a USB stick interface so the business card can be stuck into a USB port and then point the user to a particular webpage.

The webpage you associate with individual SwivelCards can also be changed — so you could update it with content specific to the person you’ve given a particular SwivelCard to, for instance. One suggested scenario there is for a wedding photographer to personalize the photo content they showcase to a potential client, for example.

And, being as it has a digital interface, the SwivelCard also includes the ability to track usage — so you can see where your business cards have ended up, and how much people are accessing them. So it’s a paper business card with analytics.

How does the SwivelCard manage to stick a USB drive onto a piece of paper? “We invented (& patented) a way to print a USB drive onto/into paper.  We use a special metallic ink to print the USB contact strips & embed a small chip in the paper,” says the startup.

For those without a USB drive, the card does also include NFC and a printed QR code so the data can still be accessed in other ways.

At present SwivelCard is a patent and a prototype. Its makers are raising crowdfunds on Kickstarter to bring their smart business cards to market, but have already doubled their original target of $10,000 with a further 33 days left of the campaign — meaning they have the means to deliver on their promises.

They’re offering taster packs of mini versions of their SwivelCard for $29 and $79 but if you’re after the full fat offering — which includes all your details printed on it, with a design of your choosing — it’s now a $289 Kickstarter pledge for a pack of 200 SwivelCards, so these smarter paper business cards don’t come cheap.

If all goes to plan, the makers are aiming to ship packs to backers starting from this October.