October 4, 2005 About the size of a credit card and not much thicker, the introduction of the US$25 rCard is quite an important step in the evolution of disposable, giveaway and promotional items. Streaming video and audio are just the start – it can be password protected, can release time-sensitive data and it can be fully interactive as in addition to the screen and speakers, there’s a navigational button. So while we’ve used the video business card as an example in the heading, the rCard offers much more – it is cheap enough and powerful enough to justify distributing to a qualified prospects of high-ticket items and innovative enough to ensure it will be watched again and again. And the scope for innovative competitions, sweepstakes, membership sales tools, best customer reactivation ad infinitum is almost endless – almost every industry has an application for the this disposable technology - travel, automotive, hospitality, promotional, financial, health, biomedical, gaming, and fitness. Let the games begin!
Of course multimedia give-aways aren’t new – in recent times we’ve seen first mover marketers using USB thumb-drive and business card CD-ROMs, but the major difference with the the rCard is that it isn’t just the storage device but a complete interactive information vehicle that doesn't require a computer to access it or technological skill to use. The rCard's content is accessed by a thumb-controlled navigation button and unlike many business card CD-ROMs which never get used, the fully portable rCard is easy to transport and share information with others and at least until they become very commonplace, has enough wow-factor to ensure it will get quite a bit of “hey, check out this cool Gizmo I was given” peer-to-peer personal marketing.
Interestingly, Mobile PC Magazine described a device quite similar to the rCard in its January 2005 issue in an article entitled "The Technologies of Tomorrow" (pgs 80-81) and forecast the coming of the device but not for many years yet – requiring much more maturity of the storage, display and battery markets . The rCard's inventors have beaten expectations by bringing together a screen with high quality, a wafer-thin and long-lasting battery, and the ability to include up to one gigabyte of storage space, packaging them together in a hard plastic shell that can fit in a wallet or business card case.
"Companies are lining up to purchase the rCard," said Jet Parker, chief executive officer for CEO IQ, co-distributor of the rCard with CardTek Inc. "It helps businesses cut through the clutter of other advertising media and stand out from traditional promotional vehicles often ignored by customers. And, the rCard can be used both for B-to-B and B-to-C marketing purposes."
"The Fortune 500 corporations we've talked to are going to use it to run consumer contests, showcase new services, demo new products, announce trade show programs, serve as a modifiable membership card, and as a portable way to deliver important or proprietary information," Parker said.
"The applications for the rCard are literally endless," Parker added. "This is the future of hand-held technology. Because it will communicate in such a highly engaging and interactive way, the rCard will promote products, generate sales and create goodwill like nothing else available in the marketplace."
About the size and thickness of a credit card, or 2"x 3", and weighing two ounces, the rCard leverages patent-pending technology to offer a leading-edge, full-color, high-quality interactive flat screen measuring 1.875" tall x 1.875" wide. The rCard can be loaded with up to 1 gigabyte of information at the factory and loaded with data via a USB port that plugs into any standard computer.
Its state-of-the-art battery is the thickness of a postage stamp, measuring the same dimensions as the rCard itself. The battery can last for approximately 200 viewings, or four hours, of continuous use. There is also an option to load the card with a rechargeable battery, which could then be charged via a docking device. The device can be programmed to power off when not in use for a pre-set amount of time, preserving battery life for up to seven years.
The rCard functions can be customized to a company's exact specifications before leaving the manufacturer. Function options include the colour and design of the rCard case, content on the device, battery type and more. Each card will cost around US$25 depending on volume, amount of memory and other factors.