By Patrick Julian on Fri, 08/27/2010
Oh what a joy it is to not have to enter every single line of information from a business card.
I just spent the last few days checking out an app called WorldCard Mobile - business card reader & business card scanner. The app title on my iPhone is "WorldCard", and the app icon looks like this:
Upon launching the app, you are presented with this screen:
From here you have access to the Settings, Help & More buttons at the bottom. In the center of the screen you have three options available which are the Camera, Photos & Signature.
The Camera screen looks like this until you press the Don't Show Again button:
You can click on OK or Don't Show Again. I recommend clicking OK for the first few times you use it until the instructions sink in and then press the Don't Show Again option which will make it disappear and not show up any more. All of the instructions here are very important to obtain the best possible picture for the OCR to work properly.
Adjust the iDevice so that the business card is between the lines on the screen and then snap a picture of the card.
You will then get the next screen that looks like this.
From here you can change the language that the card is using and rotate the photo 90 degrees at a time and a camera button so that you can retake the photo if you don't like it, such as fuzzy because it wasn't held steady or whatever the reason.
Press the Recognize button and you'll then get the following screen.
From here you can change any fields that did not fill in properly before you Export it to the address book. Now, this is much simpler than entering all the information from the business card line by line. I've only had to change a few lines occasionally after verifying the information of about 12 business cards, before Exporting each one to the contacts list. Simply click on the Export button in the upper right hand corner and you get the next screen telling you that the Export was a success.
Now you're ready to go on to the next business card and repeat the same procedure again. I have contacted the folks who developed the app and they've assured me that they are working on some changes that will make it a little easier for us to take multiple photos of business cards, without having to close the app and then reopen it to take the next photo. However, they did inform me of a work around for this issue which is to take a photos with your regular camera app and then you're able to access them from the opening screen with the 2nd option which is photos, remember?
By pressing on the Photos option you are presented with your camera library and from there you can pick the business card that you want to import after your meeting and you'll again be presented with the screen allowing you to recognize the content of the business card so that you can continue the recognition process again.
Some times when other people send you an Email, they will place their electronic signature at the bottom which may contain a lot of information that can be used to create a new contact for your contacts list.
Copy the entire signature block from an Email and then go the the WorldCard Business opening screen, just press on the Signature option and you'll get a screen asking to confirm the information that is presented.
When you press the Recognize button in the upper right hand corner of the screen, it will generate a new contact with the information displayed in the fields. Now you can Add, Change or Delete any information that you want to be in your contact list for that person.
I did try this feature out on my signature block that I send out with all of my E-mails and it worked GREAT. Less typing on my iPhone is perfect for me.
Keep in mind that this is an OCR app, and OCR's are not perfect yet. However, the developers are continually working on it and the updated app is pretty close to being ready for prime time. This version worked great for me and I only had to modify 2 fields in one of the contacts. I would recommend this app with a disclaimer that's it's not perfect all the time. When you use it about 10 or 12 times and you see how much less typing you have to do setting up contacts from business cards, you just might decide that it's worth having on your iPhone.
Please leave any and all comments for the readers of this blog about your likes or dislikes relating to this app. I know for sure that the app developers do in fact read this and other reviews about the app, and who knows your idea just might help them make it better for other consumers down the line.