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October 22, 2012

ICCA Day Two -- Top Apps for Meeting Planners

It is perhaps stating the obvious that apps are becoming a way of life in the meetings and events industry. At the 51st Annual ICCA Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Corbin Ball, a former event planner and social media guru, shared some of his favorite apps for meeting and event planners.

“The iPad is a Swiss Army Knife,” he quipped in starting. “You can do everything. The big screen lets you handle documents...it’s GPS capable, and there are thousands of free apps.” Tablet computers are the fastest-adopted technology ever, faster than smartphones or even computers. The iPad only made its debut 2.5 years ago, and is already a ubiquitous tool in many industries. “Tablets are coming down in price. Most business travelers will carry these around, and paper conference guides will fade away,” Ball predicted. 

Conference attendees expect rich interactive guides, he continued, noting that apps are can present more content than paper, and without lengthy printing delays. 

Some industry-focused apps worth exploring include SpotMe, an app that lets users exchange contact details, read the event agenda, send messages take notes and more; MiThoughts, a voting app that lets users view slides, submit questions, answer polls and see audience responses in real time; and NewLeads, which lets users scan barcodes, retrieve leads and read instant data.

General apps can also be useful for meeting planners. Evernote, for example, is good for site inspections: It has a microphone button for audio notes, information can be shared instantly with coworkers, and it is free up to certain amount of storage. If Wi-Fi is an issue for an event (and Wi-Fi is almost always an issue for events), Speedtest is a free tool that measures the wireless signal in a venue. And TechSpec is a must for site inspections, letting meeting planners (and agents, and potential buyers, and anyone else) write down and quickly sort all the vital information about a space, down to the number of electrical outlets in a room and the strength of the Wi-Fi signal. 

At ICCA, attendees are using SpotMe, and while the app is useful and notably cuts down on the amount of paper being used, it is worth noting that during the session just before Ball’s, my SpotMe app closed unexpectedly and deleted the notes I was taking without backing them up. While all the apps Ball recommended are helpful and useful, paper often still has its uses...

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox





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