I’m willing to bet that if you were to choose one thing in your life that you can’t live without, many of you would point not to your spouse or children, but to that mobile device glued to your person. Well, maybe not, but it’s true we are a world reliant upon mobile technology. But how do we know we’re getting the most out of it? Are there apps and tools that might improve the life of a stager? Based on my experience working with hundreds of AV professionals, I would venture that about 10% of you know all of the best apps and tools out there, but for the other 90%, I offer you a brain dump of my favorite apps and ideas that the techs I work with have been excited to learn about. These aren’t the uber geeky pin-count and voltage calculators (although those are way awesome), but more apps that will be helpful to the typical AV pro. You’ve read my columns and heard me speak at events about Apps that you use for your clients, like Interactive meeting Apps. But for all the other stuff, from travel to productivity to show site fun, here are a few of my favorites.
For many of us, a time tracking app to generate time sheets is an essential. My preferred tools are Toggl and Harvest. I like Toggl because it works across multiple platforms – including mobile web for any operating system – and it is beautiful in its simplicity. Harvest has attractive invoicing, expense tracking and billing functionality and features integration with project management apps such as Asana and Basecamp.
Which leads right into the next set of apps, for project management. I have experimented with about a half dozen platforms, and so far I like Asana the best. I also use Wunderlist for simple to-do list sharing amongst collaborators.
If you struggle with battery life and memory, try downloading an app such as Battery Doctor. I’ve really been pleased with how it gives me tips to gain ground in the battery life battle.
If you struggle with managing email, try a third party email client, such as Seed or Dispatch. The ultimate email management tool for me has been Sanebox. I cannot say enough great things about this tool (and it’s not just for mobile). It automatically creates folders for the dozens of newsletters, daily specials and other good-for-reading-during-most-boring-presenter-ever emails. And it easily learns over time where those emails should be distributed. Pocket is also a great app for storing reading materials for later.
Next, a couple of overlooked, but simple, tips for mobile success:
First, organize your apps. Create folders and shortcuts that make them quick and easy to find. Use Evernote and Dropbox to easily store, organize and share notes, photos, videos, voice memos, documents and more. Create a client folder on Dropbox that allows you to quickly and easily show your most impressive work. Take notes in Evernote while onsite so you can remember what you were thinking during post-show debriefs. Take advantage of password consolidation and storage using an app such as Lastpass. On an iphone, search for apps that take advantage of your thumbprint and passbook for quick and easy access.
Finally, here are a few show apps that I really enjoy.
If you need a telemprompter but your client doesn’t have the budget, try Prompster Pro or Teleprompt+ 3 (pricey though at $24.99). Ever have the random request for Madden-style Telestrators? I’ve used Syncpad with great success (this is a way cool tool all around…works on all platforms as well as on the web, definitely check it out).
For you audio folks, late I have made more best friends onsite sharing my love of Songza than any hot cup of Starbucks! It helps avoid that weird Pandora phenomena where you were grooving to dance party hits and suddenly Vivaldi is blaring over your system. Hint – try the Timeless Rock-Pop Hits channel for the ultimate break music.
A fun way to get the audience interacting with music during breaks or during dance party time is to display lyrics. Use a karaoke or lyrics matching app such as SoundHound and you can have the whole crowd singing along!
I think I could probably fill 10 pages with all of the apps I’ve come to know and love, but I would love to hear from you. What are your apps that you feel make your life easier or more fun? Please share and I will be sure to spread the word! And– special note– for all of these apps, you’ll be happy to know that as I am a small business owner and pretty frugal, most of these apps are free, have a freemium price structure, or are fairly low-cost.
Midori Connolly (firstname.lastname@example.org) was chosen at InfoComm 2012 in Las Vegas to serve as the Chair of the InfoComm Rental & Staging Council. She is the “chief” in new staging/live event technology company Chief AVGirl. She is best known for producing the first set of best practices for Sustainable AV Staging. Since her start in hi-tech at the age of nineteen, she has been training and teaching groups in places as far-reaching as South Korea to spread her gospel of the strategic use of technology and sustainable meetings as a business strategy. Midori is recognized as a Platinum Speaker by Meeting Professionals International, Best-in-Class Speaker for Professional Convention Managers Association and was most recently named as a Most Innovative Event Professional by BizBash media and 40 Under 40 by Collaborate and Connect Magazines.