Event Mobile Apps Prove Wise

The NFL Scouting Combine serves many purposes beyond scouting the incoming crop of potential draftees. It kicks off the new league year in Indianapolis and virtually everyone whose work is related to the NFL is there. Because so many key figures in the league are there, in addition to the draftees, the media on hand grows each year. At this year’s Combine in late February, more than 900 media credentials were granted, a new record. I’ve attended the Combine two previous times before this year’s and it’s always a busy few days of work, packed with numerous interviews, blog posts and social media interaction. This year, the NFL provided its media with a little help by way of a mobile app. It’s a trend in event hosting that is gaining momentum and it was a huge help at the Combine. There’s a lot to consider when choosing a mobile app for an event, but the NFL’s Combine app kept things simple. Of course, they provided an editable profile and a social stream of information from other media members, but perhaps the simplest and most helpful tool was the event schedule. Each day at the Combine features press conferences with general managers and head coaches of NFL teams. While every coach and GM in the NFL doesn’t speak, most do. The schedule of speakers was helpful for media as we juggled speaking with prospects that were randomly brought into the room to speak to the media. The app allowed users to create agendas based on whom they wanted to speak to. While the draftees were on an as-available timeframe, the ability to schedule some of what you wanted to accomplish provided a little sense of ease at an event that isn’t always considerate of time. The General Info tab provided more helpful information. It contained information about the workroom, Wi-Fi access and parking, among other things. This year’s Combine is the first conference-style event I’ve attended with the aid of an app and I found it very helpful. Having much of the information I needed about the event easily accessible on my phone—which is always on me—certainly enhanced my experience. Walt Disney World resorts offer interactive apps for customers at their parks, and I can only imagine what a lifesaver that is. When my son was four, I took him to Disney World with my parents and my brother’s family. It was definitely an unforgettable experience, but trying to plan each day’s sequence of events from the hotel room each morning with the help of a frequently-folded park map wasn’t so magical. Everyone knows how incredibly useless those paper maps become after a day or two of repeated use. A mobile app is an emerging way to enhance the experience of event attendees. What once seemed like techy overkill now appears to be a necessity since many of us use our phones in new and unique ways in our private and personal lives.   Photo Credit: Ben Liebenberg/AP