Business cards are an anachronism. We all have them, we all pass them out to people we meet, but how many of you actually own a rolodex, or file the business cards you receive in any meaningful way? For the people you actually care to connect with — as opposed to the people from whom you dutifully accept a proffered business card with no intention of ever contacting — you might manually transcribe the card’s details into your phone or contact management software. Personally, I wish business cards would die a fiery death so we could all move on to something a little more modern. Until that happens, or you become a master of business card throwing, you might want to check out the ScanBizCards application for your iPhone.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, this video demo of the ScanBizCards application must be worth a couple posts from me here on MobileCrunch:
There are other business card scanning solutions available for a multitude of platforms. I only have an iPhone 3G, so I can’t test the scanning power of ScanBizCards myself, but the ability to integrate the business card information with your phone’s address book plus the “send introduction” feature plus the “Connect on LinkedIn” feature look to me like pretty useful additions. ScanBizCards would make receiving a business card something that’s actually worthwhile.
ScanBizCards is a two-man operation here in the U.S. of A. They’re using the Tesseract OCR code as the core of their recognition system, though I’m told they’ve made a number of important modifications before, during, and after Tesseract:
- Before: image processing, thresholding – resulting in a binary image we prepare instead of letting Tesseract do it
- Within: we applied a number of fixes with Tesseract
- After: we have a long list of post-OCR corrections of various kinds, both at the level of individual characters, handling of spaces and dictionary-type corrections
An update to ScanBizCards — due in the very near future — will introduce online synchronization and backup of your business card collection. The demo I saw allows for online editing of card data from within your browser, and automatic synchronization with the card collection stored in your phone. It’s expected to be a premium subscription service, and while pricing hasn’t been nailed down, it doesn’t sound like it’ll be too much.
So, you want a copy? I have a couple promo codes for ScanBizCards to give away. To enter, simply leave a comment! We’ll pick random winners Friday afternoon. And remember, although ScanBizCards will execute on an iPhone 3G, you can only actually scan cards on an iPhone 3GS.