It was pure necessity that drove Amna Shah, founder and CEO of AHS Consultants to create an app that can manage the huge amount of business cards that were piling up in her wallet and Rolodex. So here’s the story of how she got started.
The seed of an idea
I was travelling for my AHS Consulting business and was in need of someone’s business card and the airplane was about to take off. I couldn’t fine the person online and knew I had one of their business cards on a pile of business cards on my Rolodex at home. So I had two options, try to look for all the people in the world with that name online or call home to have someone sift through my business cards to get me their information.
A common problem
Once airborne, I subscribed for the internet service and started looking for solutions that would enable me to have all my contacts online electronically in a cloud or web based solution so I could access them from anywhere in the world, with or without my cell phone. I could not find one! For three hours I looked for a solution and for another two hours, I drafted a plan to launch an app which would solve this problem. It got me thinking about the many times I had been promoted in my previous jobs from Import Specialist to Financial Analyst to Finance Manager and then to CFO. Every time I also had to shred about 200+ business cards that had been ordered for me by the HR department, just because of a designation change and company branding changes in my 8-year tenure there.
I was also thinking why in this day and age, are we still pushing paper which never gets looked at again?
Of course there are some ICR text readable apps out there but all they do is make mistakes which need human intervention to correct if the business card was read properly. Plus the person may switch jobs, designations or phone numbers and I would not be updated, but in my design the system moved a person’s updates to all their contacts unless the user blocks them.
How i-Card works
When an individual signs up for a login, a unique QR Code is generated for them which other users can scan when they meet up so they can keep connected, for life! You can also search by people’s designations, by first name, last name, business type, city, state or any details necessary to find the right match.
Personnel and companies can now have their employees’ login online on the i-Card application and put in their information that will be visible to their customers or vendors online. The user can choose what information they want to share online along with their picture. This information will automatically sync with outlook, and social media websites such as Linked In. You will be able to see a corporate logo (if account is registered by a company for their employee) or just a picture of the contact you are adding.
If the person you are meeting does not have an electronic QR Code, they can also be prompted via Outlook to sign up for the application. If the person you are meeting has a QR Code on the back of their business card, when their contact is scanned – the person without the electronic data can be prompted to register for i-Card so that their information is available electronically later on when someone else scans their QR Code.
The perfect solution
The mobile application will allow users to keep contacts and data in a cloud based environment which is also accessible online. So if your mobile phone is lost or stolen, business cards and one’s contacts can be accessed from the cloud on their new device once again without hassle. The user will also be able to create “family,” “customer,” “work” groups etc. to keep in touch and have group chats. Businesses will have a chance to connect with their clientele by getting connected to them by a simple scan of their QR Code and push sales specials, holiday greetings or any notifications to them. The application will also allow for quick messages to individuals or group members.
The mobile app is available to download, free of charge on Android or Apple devices. It is patent pending in the US and I am quiet proud of what I have achieved! We’ve been nominated for the Spirit of Innovation Awards twice in a row as there is nothing quite like it out there.
Amna, it was wonderful chatting with you! For more details check the website here.