Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Game-changer: MOO's new NFC-enabled business cards

This seems to be the season of technology that lets you stay high-touch as well as high-tech. I've written about using my new Ringly for notifications and how it helps, in my view, with personal interaction. Now comes MOO's new NFC-enabled business card, expanding your range and reach even when that networking contact is far from you.

Let me say first of all that I've been using MOO cards for several years. The quality of the paper and printing is excellent, and you have the option to print many images, not just one, within a pack. Even some of the available designs offer several variations in a pack, which boosts the interaction when you take out several during a networking session--I've found that people like to pick their favorites, and love the feel of the paper MOO uses. And a memorable card is one people keep.

These new cards are sure to join that memorable group. The cards are embedded with NFC (near-field communication) chips, the technology predicted to take over where QR (quick response) codes left off. (You can read more about the thinking that went into this interface here.) With a smartphone that is NFC-enabled, all you have to do is hold the card to the back of the phone to be connected with a website, social profile, or some other destination.

One big difference is that the MOO NFC cards provide you with a dashboard for managing the codes, so you can change the action without having to issue new cards. That makes them keepers, and more interactive. You also get metrics on who's interacting, how frequently, and more. Here are just some of the actions you can program the cards to:
  • Make a digital business card that lets your contact use one tap to call you, message you, or just save your contact info.
  • Share a link to your website, or all your social media connection points.
  • Promote your app--one of the toughest challenges out there--by connecting contacts with your Google Play download.
  • Share a Spotify playlist you've made.
  • Connect on LinkedIn.
  • Video chat with Appear.in.
  • Share directions with Citymapper.
In effect, the NFC embed erases the distance between two points. You don't need to take extra steps to enter contact info or act on the connection. You just tap or hold the card to the phone. 

As a speaker coach, the idea that a client can keep my card and use it to tap into a video chat or go to a specific website of practice resources has real appeal. The networking and event options also are intriguing. After all, you can design the card any way you want. It need not be a traditional "business card," but could be a card distributed at an event to make sure everyone can tap into directions to a party or become a LinkedIn network. And this singer-songwriter issued an album of cards for an interactive listening experience.

The user doesn't need an app to access any of this--they just tap the card to the back of their Android or Windows phone. (Apple, in its wisdom, doesn't yet support this.) You do need to have your NFC function turned on, and that in turn may activate Bluetooth. But tapping or aligning the card with the back of the phone pulls up any link you want, instantly.

You can get creative with that: One example in the video shows a card mounted next to a framed artwork in a museum. A tap with the viewer's phone uploads more info on a website. MOO expects to expand the technology to other stationery products; for now, the business cards are the first available with NFC.

For my first batch of NFC cards, I went with a simple design (see above) that includes instructions for finding out more. I've learned that when a technology is new, part of your job is to help the user get used to it.

Best of all, the prices are in line with what you'd pay for high-quality cards. If you use my link and you're a first-time orderer at MOO, you'll get 10 percent off your order. Watch the video below to get more ideas on how you can use this communications tool, not just for yourself, but for your company or organization. Don't forget that MOO's an international company. The website usually serves itself up in the correct language and price, based on your location, but if not, click on the flag icon to find your language and pricing--something I used to good effect when I found out I was out of cards on the eve of travel to Amsterdam last year. I just ordered from the European site and had the cards delivered to me at my hotel. So don't hesitate to order if you are outside the U.S.

I've got a workshop on Creating a TED-quality Talk coming up in January 2016 in Washington, DC. It repeats twice in that month: on January 14, and again on January 28, and I'm limiting them to 5 seats per session. All registration closes at the end of December or when all seats are filled, whichever comes first. Please join us, whether your goal is TED, TEDx, or just an elevated, current presentation style.

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