Zoho Business Card Scanner App for iPhone
Our President travels more than anyone else in the company. Every time I see him, there is a good possibility he's either come back from a week long conference or a dozen back-to-back meet and greets. Of course that also means he has a fresh stack of business cards, riddled with quick notes that ultimately get scattered and lost in the tabletop abyss. This seems to be a common theme I've noticed in the business world that our friends at Zoho are looking to solve.
Zoho released an iPhone app recently called Card Scanner. Its purpose is to help individuals organize business cards in an easy to use scanning app that integrates directly with their CRM. Unlike other mobile apps by Zoho, this is standalone and does not require maintaining/creating a Zoho account.
The app itself really is as straightforward as the name implies. It consists of a clean, minimalistic style that's very snappy and responsive. You're given two basic options when you start, Scan Business Card and Contacts. Selecting the scan option opens up an internal camera app that allows you to snap a shot of the card in question and allow the built in OCR (optical character recognition) technology do its magic.
I made an effort to test the limits of the app by taking the pictures while holding the card in the air in low light situations as opposed to flat on a desk in an office setting. For my experiment, I used three different styles of business cards, our COO's, my barber, and a friends plumbing business.
Despite the differences between the cards (especially the last one given its darker styling and nonstandard formatting), all the vital information was picked up (name, company, phone, addresses, email address) successfully. The only problem I had was with the small, light grey tagline (move your company to the cloud) on our COO's card. Even in that low light situation with the faint tagline, it still managed to pick up most of the sentence.
Once captured, you can review the content, make any revisions and save it as a contact. I mentioned earlier that this integrates with Zoho's CRM but it also works as a standalone app. For those of you currently on the Zoho platform, you can take advantage of the apps quick capture in sending the info to the CRM as either a contact or a lead. For non-CRM users or those that don't want to integrate the two, the app also provides onboard Rolodex functionality.
Simply put, this is a clean, easy to use program that serves its purpose well. One feature I'd really like to see added is the ability to add notes to the contact within the app. If you send the captured card to Zoho, you will have the ability to add notes but it does require you to access the CRM separately. Card Scanner can be found on the appstore for $4.99. For those of you looking to attend even a single conference or business meeting, this app definitely pays for itself for less than the cost of your espresso.