Business cards are one of the most important relationship marketing tools in a businessperson’s arsenal. They are cheap, easy to carry and convenient. Like most everything else in today’s word, business cards are evolving and taking on new technological and integrative properties to make them work better in a fast-paced environment. The cards of the future interact with mobile devices, connect with the internet and are filled with information that goes beyond a name and contact data.
Cyber Business Cards
Today’s high-tech smartphones have the ability to draw data from one another, lending themselves to efficient contact information sharing. Unfortunately, though, this type of sharing is typically app-based and forces the smartphones into a dialogue that can lead to security breaches.
To avoid this potential problem, developers have created NFC technology. NFC uses smart chips that communicate with one another without the need to open up the entire device system. The chips can be embedded into traditional business cards, as well. The NFC capabilities transform papers cards into electronic connections and give the cards the ability to interact with smartphones and other wireless devices.
Business cards used to only need a name, logo and telephone number. Nowadays, business cards need to include domain names, five social media links and a brand motto. The Quick Response Code, or QRC, is a barcode that can be scanned and carries more than 7,000 pieces of data. This provides businesspeople with enough room to give customers all of their contact information and a good amount of product specifications.
Generally printed on the back of the business card, a QRC can be stylized for artistic quality. For example, Instagram created a QRC that was composed of hundreds of mini pictures from the social media network.
Name Recognition Software
The prevalence of smartphones with high-resolution cameras like the Galaxy S7 has made traditional business cards relevant again. Optical character resolution (OCR) software can snap a picture of a business card and identify the lettering on the card. This information is then stored in a database and the physical card is thrown away. Depending on a smartphone’s platform, there are a large number of open-source, free OCR programs for business card reading and storage.
Virtual Business Cards
A new world of augmented reality is being formed. In the virtual world, businesspeople can meet up, share conversations and ideas, and exchange virtual business cards that register on a smartphone app. In this way, virtual business cards are input into a database like a traditional card used to be.
The Future of the Card
In an article for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, researcher Andrew Steckl foresees a card that changes contact information automatically when necessary, links to special products or services, and changes colors to remind the holder of its existence. All of this is becoming possible with new technology. For example, a doctor’s card could have a flu button that lights up during the peak season on the illness. This type of technology will turn business cards into mini, personalized billboards.