What the Tech?: It’s the Revival of the Business Card
TouchBase Technologies matches digital features with a tangible object.
A slew of companies have been trying to figure out how to bring the business card model into the digital age without losing the tangibility of a piece of paper, but the inventors of TouchBase Technologies think they have the solution pegged.
Like most features on phones, computers, and tablets, TouchBaseâs transferrable business card technology is done with the flick of the wrist and the tap of the screen.
Users can store a personâs information into their smartphones by simply placing one of the specialized cards created by TouchBase over their device, and briefly letting it connect. Itâs the type of invention that would make American Psychoâs Patrick Batemanâs blood boil.
âItâs kind of like how when youâre going through the turnstiles on the MBTAâyou just tap it onto the little black surface. Itâs very seamless, and itâs instant,â said Sai To Yeung, TouchBase CEO and a Harvard undergrad.
Yeung understands that other companies have tried to master the new-age version of the business card, but he believes the way in which TouchBase leverages current touchscreen technologies, and maintains the presence of an actual card, offers users the best of both worlds.
âThere have been numerous attempts to modernize the business card and really digitize it. One attempt was to get rid of it entirely through âBump,â but I think it didnât take off because it strayed too far from the traditional means,â he said.
Other companies tried placing large QR codes onto cards, but according to Yeungâs research, people either didnât have QR code readers, or didnât like the look of the large black symbol crowding the real estate of their card.Â âSo thatâs another advantage we have, the conductive ink we are embedding isnât visible. It doesnât take up any real estate,â he said.
The transition of information from a card to someoneâs phone is possible through a unique material inside the card that connects with a landing page on the phone.Â âWhat weâre doing is embedding conductive ink within these cards. Itâs ink made out of copper or silver that connects electrically. We organize that ink in a unique pattern, and what happens is, when you tap the card on the screen it mimics fingerprint touches onto the screen,â explained Yeung.
The information that can be transferred isnât just limited to phone numbers and email addresses, however. Yeung said profile pictures, folders, videos, and resumes can also be passed from the card to a personâs smartphone, so people arenât scrambling to organize materials if they get together for an interview, or business opportunity.Â âIt becomes helpful if youâre an artist or a freelancer, or if you want to share a portfolio of paintingsânow you could do that instantly just by handing over the card,â he said.
Like many great entrepreneurial ideas that spawn in the Boston area, TouchBase was born out of MIT. The pair behind the productâYeung and Jon Warneke, the companyâs CTOâwere part of the 2013 DreamIt Ventures Accelerator Program. Yeung was enrolled at MIT Sloan, but left to concentrate on the product. Warneke still attends MIT, and is what Yeung refers to as âthe brainsâ behind the complex mathematical algorithms of TouchBaseâs unique technology.
âHeâs basically a math genius,â he said.
The idea started there, but has since moved forward with an aggressive IndieGoGo campaign that has raised more than $30,000 in less than two weeks.
Once the campaign is over, since it has already exceeded its fundraising goal, Yeung and Warneke plan on sending out links to the people that helped fund their product, so they can create an account, upload contact information, and to design a card. Then, in April, the personalized cards will go into production, before they are shipped out to customers in May.Â âWe are hoping this goes big,â said Yeung.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/02/13/touchbase-technologies-business-card/