Richard Baum

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The old media that will not die

April 3, 2009

CDs and DVDs are headed for extinction and print may follow when some son-of-Kindle replaces newspapers and books, but one piece of low capacity media seems to have no expiry date: the business card. Business cards are the cockroaches of the old media world, apparently destined to survive the apocalypse. Unless you’re incredibly well organized — does anyone buy those card scanners? — your desk is probably littered with these souvenirs of new relationships.

What I want is to be able to exchange this information with the press of a button on my BlackBerry, my iPod or whatever device I happen to be carrying. The Palm products always had the ability to beam a business card to another Palm and the next upgrade to the iPhone software will reportedly do likewise, but this still limits the virtual card swapping to people with the same device. There’s a global standard for formatting the data in electronic business cards — it’s called vCard — but no hardware standard for transmitting and receiving the information.

It’s a geeky fantasy and wouldn’t go down well in Japan, where the formalities of exchanging meishi are as essential as a handshake, but surely it can’t be that hard.


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  • About Richard

    "General Manager for Reuters News in New York and Canada. Previously editor for Consumer Media. I've worked in India, Singapore and Canada and am currently based in New York. I joined Reuters in my hometown of London in 1998."
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