It probably won't revolutionise the office, but if you're looking for a fast, easy and safe way to store your business card collection, the CardScan Executive V8 is worth considering.
The CardScan Executive V8 is a miniature USB-powered business card scanner and contact manager system. It provides an efficient way to organise your contacts, taking just three seconds to scan each card and add the information to its address book.
The data can then be copied over to Microsoft Office on your PC, or to your PDA or Windows Mobile device, using the Data Exchange Wizard. There's no direct support for Office 2007, though.
At 9.2 x 8.1 x 2.8 inches, it's compact enough to fit in your laptop bag, should you wish to take it on your business travels.
In principle, the Executive V8 certainly is easy to use: just place a business card face up on the scanner and wait for it to be pulled through. Press 'process', and let the OCR technology do its thing - within moments all the information is on the screen, sensibly arranged for you to check and verify.
Character recognition accuracy
While we can't say our test batch achieved 100 per cent accuracy, on the whole the results were impressive. The software successfully identified and categorised most key information - all the more impressive considering that business card layout and content can vary widely. Notably, it correctly differentiated between landline, mobile and fax numbers each time.
However, we did find occasional problems with the character recognition accuracy. Tech.co.uk colleage Dan Grabham's name, for example, proved a stumbling block with 'bh' appearing first as 'kh', and then as 'h' before finally settling on the correct spelling.
And occasionally a detail - usually an email address or, in our case, the 'technology news first' slogan was read or classified incorrectly. In these situations, the data was assigned to 'Other', but we had no problem correcting the errors manually. As long as you briefly check the details of each card before verifying the information, this will be no more than a minor irritation.
All in all, it's a useful bit of kit for anyone who exchanges a high volume of business cards. Fast, efficient and easy to use, the CardScan Executive V8 will save you time typing the details of your contacts into your contact manager system.
It's only the £200 price tag and lack of integration with Office 2007 that might hold some potential users back.