Apple(s AAPL) created Passbook to act as a digital wallet — sans money — and has seen airlines, ticket companies, restaurants, retailers and more take advantage of the software. But Tuesday brings a new Passbook use we haven’t seen before: storing business cards. The innovation comes from a company called Vizibility, which makes NFC-enabled business cards and identity management software, and the first high-profile deployment is with a real estate agency, Re/Max.
Here’s how it works: Instead of keeping a stack of paper cards in your wallet or bag, you can set it so a mobile business card from Vizibility appears on your iPhone’s lock screen (assuming your phone is updated to iOS 6) when you’re near particular locations you have chosen. Instead of handing over a physical card, you let the person use their smartphone to scan the code on your Passbook business card. From there, Vizibility provides services to individuals and businesses so they can collect data regarding how their business cards and information are being viewed, see whether they have common connections with the new contact on Facebook (s fb) or LinkedIn (s lnkd), and have the option to get real-time alerts when someone views the card.
More companies are finding new ways of exchanging business contact info in a way that incorporates smartphones. Just last week my colleague Kevin Tofel covered another take on this idea with Moo’s NFC chip-equipped business card, which can pass along a person’s contact info and any other relevant information when tapped to any smartphone with NFC — a more advanced version of business cards that come printed with QR codes. The Bump app can also pass contact info between smartphones, but that’s just one part of what that software can do.
It’s a good sign for Apple that despite a bit of a slow start for Passbook, companies are innovating on the platform in a way that can make the iPhone more useful in a variety of real-life situations.
If you want to see how a Passbook business card from Vizibility works in person, track down your local Re/Max realtor in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Southeastern Michigan or Southern Ohio, where 4,500 agents will be carrying them.