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Application to scan business cards

Traditional paper business cards are still the status quo but a redesigned iPhone app is helping them go digital.

gadgets Updated: Dec 02, 2011 01:25 IST

Traditional paper business cards are still the status quo but a redesigned iPhone app is helping them go digital.

CardMunch, by the online professional network LinkedIn, lets users click photos of business cards and transforms them into digital contacts. It also gathers additional information about the person from LinkedIn. "Business cards are the first point of interaction when you meet someone at a conference or event," said Sid Viswanathan, co-founder of CardMunch. "But imagine a world where you can scan that card and find out everything that LinkedIn has to offer on that particular individual. We're showing you more than what's on that physical card."

iphoneAfter scanning a card, contact details are digitally transcribed, along with additional information from LinkedIn, such as the person's career history, education, skills, and mutual contacts. The app also pulls in the contact's photo. So far 1.8 million business cards have been scanned worldwide using the app, which Viswanathan said is targeted at professionals who meet people as part of their job.

Viswanathan said there are still accuracy issues with optical character recognition (OCR) technology to automate the transcription process, so the company relies on Amazon's Mechanical Turks marketplace of workers who complete tasks that computers aren't yet able to do well.

CardMunch is free. A similar app called ScanBizCards is also available for both iPhones and Android devices that uses an in-house transcription team rather than Mechanical Turks to increase privacy.

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