Monday, October 18, 2010

Bumping - the new way to connect

Business cards have been around for three hundred years but their fate may be sealed soon. We've tried numerous ways to track our contacts including business card holders and scanners to enter the information into our computers. There was certainly promise to automatic character recognition to convert card images to text but the artistic flourishes on many cards have rendered that strategy problematic. An email address embedded in a sea of flowers is just as hard to read by software as by the human eye.

Bumping has come to the rescue. There is a free app for iPhones and Android phones that automatically transfers contact information between two phones when they touch each other (bump). To learn more go to the companies web site www.BU.MP.

The process seems quite mysterious but it turns out the direct physical contact is not what matters. Because phones have built in GPS, it is easy to determine when two phones are near each other. Second, they have motion sensors that can sense when they move or are jolted. Tapping two nearby phones on the table would yield the same result. But since their may be other phones nearby, and another phone might be jolted at the same time, it is possible to connect with the wrong person. That's the reason, that each participant in a "bump" must confirm the identity of the other party before a connection is made.

In addition to exchanging contact information, the Bump software allows you to exchange photos, social network connections and calendar events.


  1. Wow, that is a truly clever idea and a sharp way to exploit already present abilities. It IS somewhat inconvenient even when you have physically written contact information in hand, because not only do you have to enter it and save it somewhere, but you have to remember to do it in the first place.

    I know I am guilty of "losing" more business cards than I can count. This sounds like an excellent way to avoid the simple vagaries of human nature and improve record keeping in one fell swoop.

  2. Thanks Paul,
    For such a new and seemingly complex idea, it works surprisingly well - even between iPhones and Androids. No other platforms listed on their web site at the present. The website address itself is a stroke of marketing genius - combining BU with .MP - the country code for The Northern Marianna Islands!

  3. Gary, why not skip the "bump" and just email someone the desired info?

  4. Randy, If I receive email contact info, I generally have to create a new contact record - which involves time and possible errors. Bumping puts your contact information directly into my contact database.