Attempts at substituting a physical business card for a digital one has gradually moved into reality space with a newly launched mobile application called Haystack, which allows users to not only create their own digital card, but also scan and store the cards given to them.
Over the years, a number of startups have attempted to kill the business card, but these antiquated pieces of paper have managed to stick around, despite our move to a digital age. However, that doesn’t mean people will stop trying to end the reign of the business card once and for all.
Prior to its recent launch in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Haystack’s app has been in beta testing in Australia for several months. There it has already grown to include 3,000 businesses on its service (and even more users), even though the team only marketed the app in the city of Brisbane, where founder Ran Heimann is based.
Heimann says he was motivated to try his hand at creating an app to displace the business card after spending years working as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he and his colleagues were heavy users of business cards.
While some of the apps that have launched in this space have tried to ignore the fact that paper business cards still exist, what’s interesting about the new Haystack app is that it allows you to transition from the world of paper-based cards to digital. That is, instead of ignoring the fact that you’re still going to have to deal with receiving physical business cards, it offers you a way to import them into your phone simply by snapping a photo.
While Heimann is hopeful that Haystack will be the app that helps to put business cards to rest for good, I’m less optimistic. As he noted himself when detailing the problem, “these pieces of paper refuse to die.”
However, the app can serve as a simple way to snap photos of cards and send them to your contacts app on your smartphone, and can it works as an easy way to share your own contact details for those times when you either forgot or ran out of your own business cards. Whether or not that will motivate you to stop printing paper cards entirely is to be determined.
Haystack is a free download for both iOS and Android.