One of the best business card tricks you can use is to turn your contact info into a bar code that can then be scanned into most smart phones. While this post will deal with the free bar code scanner from The Google for Android, apps are available for iPhone,RIM’s Blackberry, and Nokia’s Symbian OS. By encoding the information on your business card in a QR Code, any one with a modern mobile smart phone, like Android, can then scan the information directly onto their phone. This blog post will walk you through creating the bar code and using the Android app to read the business card information.
Creating the Bar Code
The underlying Open Source application for Google’s is called: Zxing. But the great thing is that you don’t have to do anything complicated, because they have a simple web page that will let you easily make a QR Code for your contact information at: http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/. Here is an example:
Once you’ve created the QR code of your contact info, you can right mouse button click on the code, and save the file. A printer can take the file and include it on your business card or you can include it on your website.
Scanning Contact Info Onto your Phone
Google’s free bar code scanner doesn’t come already installed on phones, so you will have to install via the Android Market. My suggestion is to use the search functionality to find all the “barcode” applications. You should get a screen like:
Be sure to install the Barcode Scanner from the ZXing Team (as shown in orange in the above screen capture).
Once the Barcode Scanner is installed, it will appear with the rest of the installed applications. The first time you run the application it will provide some helpful information. After that you will get a screen with a red line through it. Point the phone’s camera at the qr code as shown here:
The application will make a beep when it recognizes the bar code and bring up the following page:
With the barcode recognized, you can add it the contacts list, find the address, call the phone number or send an email. Pretty darn easy