Ah business cards. We get them, but what the heck do we do with them?
You can scan then with a document scanner of course, but there are some great mobile apps to capture cards on the fly. For example, at a conference, it’s nice to be able to have everything captured in your hotel room.
The nice people at IntSig hooked me up with a review copy of CamCard for iPhone, their business card scanning app. It is in the App Store and seems to vary between $2.99 and $6.99, but there is a free Lite version to try it out. For you Androids out there, there is also an Android version available.
With that out of the way, how does CamCard work?
Like all business scanning apps, CamCard uses your phone’s camera to take a picture of the card, and then it processes it.
For best results, you line up the card in the targets as shown below.
The software has a super helpful Batch Mode. When you set this, you can quickly go through capturing a stack of cards, and then it processes them all later. I raced through my stack this way, and it was great.
After you save the captures, it goes through and processes them. All the processing happens on the phone, and your cards don’t get sent to the cloud or anything (unless you want them to – more on that later).
OCR is never 100% perfect, but I found the results of CamCard to be quite good. On “traditional” business cards with a standard layout, it was almost perfect.
With some of my business cards that do not have a normal layout, it did a good job capturing most of the information, but sometimes I did need to go in and fix the names. It is certainly better than having to type all that stuff in by hand.
The Help says that for best recognition results, have lots of light and have the card fill the screen inside the target areas.
CamCard isn’t just an app. The company provides an optional Cloud Sync server. If you sign up for it, all your cards are synchronized up to their server, and you can access your cards on any iOS device, Android device, or online.
Unfortunately CamCard doesn’t seem to be compatible with my Samsung Galaxy Player so I couldn’t test the Android part, but here is the information on their site:
If you are going to use CamCard, I recommend either using their Cloud Server or exporting the card information some other way. If something happens to your iPhone or iPod Touch, you don’t want to lose your contacts.
Speaking of exporting, when you are saving your cards you can have them export to your Address Book on your phone, to iCloud, to Gmail, or to Exchange.
From the list of cards, you can also export one or multiple cards to CSV, Excel, or vCard.
When your cards are in CamCard, they are saved in what they call the Card Holder.
From the list of cards, if you long-tap one of the cards you can instantly phone, SMS, or e-mail the contact.
When you drill down into a card, you can do the same as well as open up their website, and search LinkedIn or request to add them as a contact.
The LinkedIn thing works quite well. I feel sad for those other guys that are stuck with my name.
I am (thankfully) not someone who has to deal with a lot of business cards, but if I was, I quite like CamCard. It is polished, easy to use, and the OCR is pretty good for something that is not done by humans.
Do you use a business card app on your mobile device? Which one and how do you like it?