Monte Carlo, MONACO – Whenever I attend a conference and get back home with a huge stack of business cards, I never quite know what to do with them. Should I store them, bin them, or send an email to all the people I’ve just met?
The good news is in the future I may not have to worry about stuff like that. At WIMA in Monaco, Jeff Bowden from ITN international introduced me to a service called Bcard.
Bcard lets you read other people’s business card data with the help of NFC. Not only does it allow you to see whom you’ve exchanged business cards with, it also reminds you which smart posters you’ve checked out and re-opens their URLs.
Here’s how it goes: you hold your NFC phone close to another person’s event badge and scan the information hidden in the NFC tag. The Bcard app then stores the person’s contact details, like their name, phone number, email address and office address.
The data is stored on your phone and also saved in your profile on ITN’s Bcard portal. You can view it there and even export it as a CSV file.
After you’ve stored a person’s data, you click ‘qualify’ on your screen. You get a list of actions, and choose what you want to do with your new contact. You may want to call the person within a week or two, or perhaps send a meeting invite. You can also edit this list of actions yourself to make it fit your business needs.
Bcard is available for all Symbian Belle devices with NFC. Currently it’s only used by event organizers, but Jeff tells me ITN can’t wait for NFC to become more mainstream, so they can start offering the app to regular conference attendees.
“This is all about closing sales deals,” Jeff tells me. “We’re helping people to manage their data so they can do their jobs!”
I asked Jeff whether Bcard has the functionality to connect people on LinkedIn – apprently that’s not available just yet, but it’s in the plans.
If you wish to use NFC for connecting on LinkedIn, you can soon tap into Nokia’s own LinkedIn application. You can either read a person’s LinkedIn tag stored on their event badge, or tap two NFC-enabled phones together to exchange invites. The app is available for NFC phones on Symbian and MeeGo and it’s coming to the Nokia Store very soon.