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Tech trends: New ways to connect

The skinny on new business-card alternatives.

When I hand out business cards at trade shows and other events, I always wonder if they’ll end up on the bottom of someone’s bag–or, worse, in the trash. Over the years, I’ve tried several smartphone apps designed to exchange contact information, but many of them work only if both people have the software installed. Recently, I tried out two promising alternatives, near-field communication and QR codes, at the L.A. Auto Show.

Near-field communication, which now comes standard on some high-end smartphones, makes it possible to transmit contact information and other data by tapping another device, card, or tag containing an NFC chip. I tested it using Vizibility’s NFC Mobile Wallet Card, which looks like a plastic business card and contains an NFC chip and a QR code. To create my card, I went to the Vizibility site, typed in my contact details, and chose a design with a stock logo (you can also upload your own logo). I signed up for the premium Metrics Pack, which costs $5 a month, or $49 a year, and includes an NFC card, which was mailed to me, and the ability to track activity online. For an extra $15, I also purchased 240 QR code stickers to slap on my old-school business cards, making it possible for people to scan the code with a smartphone app and instantly upload my information.

As I wandered the aisles of the auto show, I came across a company rep with an NFC-enabled smartphone. Uploading my contact information was a cinch: He opened the Android Beam feature and tapped his phone to my card. But, of the three dozen people I talked to throughout the rest of the day, only one had an NFC-enabled phone. In fact, most people had never heard of the technology.

…to read this article in full, visit leading US small business resource, Inc.

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