Is this really necessary? Bizmap, the business card scanner.

Bizmap, the business card reader.

So, whenever we meet someone, it’s usually customary to exchange business cards.  These are usually thrown into a pile on my desk unless it’s someone who I want to remain in contact with.  In that case I’ll put their phone numbers into my phone if I remember to do so.

The rest continue to pile up higher and higher until I put them in a box and store them away.

With this little gadget, I can quickly scan all of the business cards, save the information in my contacts list, and throw them all away!  Isn’t that great?  Well yes, it is, if it really does work as simply as that.. but I have my doubts.

contacts list!

The bizmap is another one of those products I saw at the 2010 IT show.  It caught my attention, but I kept thinking about how over the top this one was.  If you recall, in the past, people had address books called rolodexes.  If you met someone and they gave you their business card, you could scotch tape it to  a page in your rolodex and put it in the proper place.  You could then spin the rolodex to find your contact later.  After office computers gave people access to contacts databases, this fell out of use, as people could simply type in the contact’s name and other information.  The computer would do all the sorting and would find the contact immediately if you needed it later.

Many a rolodex were removed from desks, (as it was probably cluttering up the valuable space on the desk top, now that gigantic computers and gigactic computer screens were hogging all the space.

Well now, I guess the people who invented this device decided that they are now too lazy to read the business card and type the information manually.  Instead they’d rather slip the card into the device, scan the information, and continue surfing the internet looking for a good deal on a 16th century claymore replica with the 10 seconds they have presumably saved.

But really, does this thing save time?  I’d bet on no, unless you need to add the information of 200 or more business cards in one sitting.  Even then it might be faster and easier to simply type everything in.

Allow me to explain why.

1st, you’ll need to find a space on your desk to put the thing.

2nd, you need to plug the thing into the computer.  Somehow I doubt that it’s always going to be on the desk and always plugged into the computer.  This isn’t something we are going to use every day, is it?

3rd.  probably you’ll have to install some kind of driver for it at least the first time you use it.

4th.  I don’t really know how well it works with databases, but I’d assume that it can handle excel and microsoft outlook, as that’s what a lot of people use.  If you are a business that uses a web based e-mail, or intranet based browser e-mail system, something tells me that the scanner won’t be able to accommodate your system.

Edit: After checking the company’s website it looks like there is a long drawn out installation and optimization process, including connecting to a server so that everyhing you scan can be sent to all your handheld devices as well as the contacts list of your entire company.  This is looking more and more like a tool that the old boss gets, then asks his young IT professional to install.  When everything doesn’t work, he’ll be able to yell and scream at the IT professional for not doing his job, while meanwhile the overwhelmed it professional will be frantically doing research trying to figure out how to alter the network plan of the whole company to accommodate something that isn’t all that useful in the first place.

5th.  The speed at which the card goes through the scanner is not at all very fast, probably the same amount of time it would take you to open outlook yourself and type in the contact information yourself.  This is unfortunately the fastest step of the 5, so it means you’ve wasted a lot of time getting the thing to work.

6th.  You removed the quick and simple rolodex for a larger device that has a wire, and is more difficult to use.

The ONLY people I can see this benefiting are those who seriously can’t type.  If that’s the case, they probably wouldn’t be doing a job that requires a huge computerized contact list.

The only problem it truly will solve is human error that causes typos.

It’s a nice attempt at an improvement, but it creates more problems than it solves.

I suppose it would be like using duct tape to repair a crack across the windshield of your car.  Yea, the wind won’t be blowing in your face anymore, but you also won’t be able to see.

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