vCard is the electronic business card. It is a powerful new means of Personal Data Interchange (PDI) that is automating the traditional business card. Whether it's your computer (hand held organizer, Personal Information Manager (PIM), electronic email application, Web Browser) or telephone, the vCard will revolutionize your personal communications.
Imagine walking into a meeting and beaming vCards over infrared links between hand-held organizers, PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), and notebook PC's from any manufacturer. Within seconds, the participants have this vital information automatically stored in their favorite directory. Later it can be used to place a phone call, send a fax or Email, or even to initiate a video conference. There is no need to manually enter business card information.
Or perhaps you're surfing the Internet and suddenly run across a picture of some cool business site that is advertising on the Web. You click the vCard button and a vCard is returned to your client machine. It can be easily stored into your favorite address book or directory for later reference and includes all the vital directory information on that business.
Another Internet scenario allows your vCard to be dragged over an Internet form (such as a registration or order form) and automatically populate it with the correct information.
Electronic mail can carry your vCard as an attachment or imbedded via MIME. It can be automatically extracted by the recipient and placed into their desktop directory of choice.
Or you're using your notebook PC with a DSVD (Digital Simultaneous Voice and Data) modem to browse product highlights on a company's homepage. You decide to place an order, so you use your PC to dial the sales call center. When the sales person asks you to provide your shipping information, you use your PC to simultaneously send your vCard which quickly and accurately populates the order form with all your pertinent personal data.
For a call center, this can very significantly cut down the call time by eliminating the time (and errors) it takes to exchange this information verbally with an operator at a computer keyboard. This provides a great productivity and cost savings in the call center environment.
Voice response units can provide an option to "press 2 to leave your vCard". Software telephony applications can implement a Send vCard button. This would also provide great functionality for a mobile phone. You should certainly be able to leave vCards on an answering machine instead of leaving your name and phone number, which are prone to mistranscription.
Both of these illustrate exploitation of DSVD (Digital Simultaneous Voice Data) technology which will be widespread in the next generation of modems.
A video or data conference can start with an exchange of vCards which could be kept "on the table" by a vCard viewer window.
The scenarios outlined above are now becoming a reality with the vCard V2.1 Specification from the Internet Mail Consortium and the vCard V3.0 Specification approved as a proposed standard by the IETF. These specifications were developed in cooperation with leading producers of desktop software (PIMs, telephony products), hand-held organizers, Internet web clients, Email systems, on-line information and directory services, and other interested parties. In fact, the vCard technology has already been adopted by many of these vendors who are now incorporating it into their products.
Other applications include office products, pager applications and smart card technology in the future.
For more information on vCard and vCalendar, please see the main vCard and vCalendar page. More information about the Internet Mail Consortium is available from the IMC Web site.
vCard and vCalendar are registered trademarks of the Internet Mail Consortium.