By: Eric Olson, General Manager
Active Network, Business Solutions
About a year ago I stopped carrying a laptop on short trips. It was a big — and slightly stressful moment — when I boarded a plane for a conference in San Jose with only an iPad and a presentation on iWork Keynote. But, something quickly dawned on me. Apps were made for the conference goer.
Event professionals need information on the go. And with the app market now worth over $10 billion with a staggering year-on-year growth rate of 100%, there is an app for just about every element of the business meeting experience — from the airport to the convention center and everything in between.
So, after a couple of years of experimenting with the latest apps on my smartphone and tablet, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favorite business travel and event apps. Check out my list below and please comment with your thoughts and any other recommendations you have.
1. Evernote – Winner of the best mobile app award by TechCrunch and Mashable, Evernote enables you to capture your ideas and notes on- the- go, documenting them as text, photos or audio recordings and auto-synchronizing all content to your devices (desktop computer, phone, iPad). This app now features geo-location tagging, advanced search capabilities and multiple language support. This is one app every mobile user should have.
2. Bump - is a virtual business card that allows you to swap contact info, calendar, pictures and social media profiles with others, simply by bumping your phone with theirs. The information is transferred wirelessly and automatically added to your contact list. Genius!
3. Trip-it – Log your travel plans and find out who’s near-by for business and networking opportunities. The TripIt mobile planner keeps all of your travel plans in one spot from flight information to hotel bookings and car rental confirmations. Forward your booking confirmation details to firstname.lastname@example.org and the TripIt app organizes and shares your itinerary with family, colleagues and social networking contacts, making it easier to coordinate schedules. Itineraries can even be customized to include weather, maps and directions.
4. Quickvoice – This is the most popular voice recorder available. Record ideas, voice memos, voice email, dictation, lists, meetings, classes, and entire lectures or presentations on your mobile phone or tablet! With this nifty app, you can even email using your voice.
5. Dropbox – This app offers a single cloud-based storage folder where you can save and access all of your documents on the go, and from any device on which you have Dropbox installed. Add files to your ‘favorites’ for fast, offline viewing and enable sharing of your Dropbox folder with others.
6. Word Lens – This handy app translates languages visually right on the spot, with obvious benefits for the likes of signage menus and general communication at foreign shows with international attendees. Instantly translate printed words from one language to another with your camera, in real time.
7. Accuweather – Whether or not your event is weather-dependent, it’s always important to be prepared for whatever the natural elements may throw at you and pack and prepare accordingly. Accuweather takes the guesswork out, offering severe weather alerts, forecast videos and animated radar/satellite data with a 15 day forecast.
8. GateGuru - Have you ever wandered around the airport for 20 minutes in search of something edible just to end up with a soggy, plastic-wrapped sandwich? Or, have you snaked your way through security and out the other side just to discover the good food was hidden before the TSA pat down? It happened to me too many times until I discovered GateGuru, which provides maps, reviews and everything you need to make airport delays almost tolerable.
9. Scan2PDF Mobile - Allows you to capture documents on the go by using your mobile device to scan documents using the camera and convert them to PDF files, which can then be emailed. Think of it as a document scanner/fax machine that you always have with you!
10. TaxiMagic – This app connects you directly with local cab dispatch systems in more than 4000 North American locations. If you’re visiting a major city for a meeting or event and struggling to get a cab, use this app to book taxis according to your specific location with a few taps. You can even track your taxi’s arrival and charge the fare to a credit card all from your mobile device.
What apps do you use and which apps would you recommend for business travelers attending international meetings, events and conferences? Comment below with your answers and feedback.
Eric is responsible for driving global sales and operations for Active Network Business Solutions. Before joining Active Network, Eric was Vice President of Marketing and Media for a prominent education provider, specializing in online courses, virtual events and live conferences. In seven years he grew the company’s annual revenues from less than $10 million to more than $140 million, primarily through the expansion of its events portfolio.