While we may all reside in different parts of the world with unique climates, there is that special time of the year when us International Educators transport to brisk air-conditioned expo halls filled with the calming sounds of multi-lingual chatter. Wardrobe trends feature the finest business suits coupled with exotic bargained foreign accessories and awkwardly placed nametags. Welcome to conference season.
Our coveted conventions may have their quirks (are 10,000 of us really wandering the streets of downtown Los Angeles with tourist tags advertising our names and hometowns after just attending a session on the importance of cultural integration?) But the reason so many members of our community travel across the globe for these conferences is undoubtedly the opportunity to learn and meet with colleagues in person.
In a world dominated by technology, face-to-face meetings are simply unparalleled. However, when used correctly, technology can be an incredible tool to facilitate these personal interactions and evolve your experience from overwhelming to manageable and enjoyable. Here is our list of the Top 3 mobile apps that will enable you to navigate your next conference like a pro, make more meaningful connections, and feel like a tech-aficionado!
1. The Smart & Social Face-ilitators: Once you settle in and dive into the conference, it’s common to feel a bit lost and experience your own version of CCS (“conference culture shock”). All of these people are here to meet each other, but do I go to sessions? Wander around the exhibitor hall? I hear there’s a Brazil party?! Have no fear, because two new apps, Bizzabo & Shhmooze, enable you to find colleagues attending the same conference virtually. Integrate with your LinkedIn profile, indicate the conference you are attending, and instantly connect and chat with other conference-goers to find connections! (Bizzabo gets extra points for this amazing video!).
2. The Green, Paperless Business Card Apps: Let’s face it: Business cards are so 90’s. They take up space in your precious name tag pouch, writing notes on the back in hopes that you will actually have the time post-conference to type everything is time-intensive and inefficient. Introducing bump & Cardmunch. These apps keep it green and keep it classy with innovative business card alternatives.
If you and your new friend download bump, you can simply tap phones and voila, your contact information, photo, LinkedIn, facebook, or any additional details that you choose to include are shared instantly. They also just launched a feature where you can bump photos to your computer!
For the stack of business cards that you will still undoubtedly collect, Cardmunch, developed by the pros at LinkedIn, can provide a solution. Cardmunch allows you to take a photo of a business card and instantly convert and transcribe it to a virtual contact on your phone. And it’s free – Genius!
3. The Location-Sharing Tracker: As essential as the daytime meetings and sessions may be, evening receptions, events, and late night karaoke gatherings are arguably equally important ways to capitalize on forming new connections at conferences. Though, what happens when you and your colleagues are hopping around at different events and want to gauge the latest activity? Or what if you want to meet a group later in the evening but don’t want to have to deal with texting logistics? Glympse makes it easy to share your location throughout the day with a controlled group (you can control who and for how long you share your location). You can also use it to see what sessions your colleagues are attending. They also get credit for “hands down” the best video!
Runner-Up: The “We’re Sick of Paying for Wi-Fi” App: Are you tired of paying exorbitant hotel and conference registration fees to find that you’re being bombarded with additional charges for internet? Most cities will have free wi-fi alternative hotspots, and their locations shouldn’t only be reserved for locals! Try out the Free Wi-Fi Finder, and you should be able to discover new parts of the city while accessing precious internet in a way that is truly “priceless.”
Are there any other apps that you have found to be conference life-savers? Feel free to make any additions in the comments below.
We look forward to “bump”-ing into you in your finest attire sporting those infamous nametags at an upcoming conference soon!
Want to discover your dream study abroad destination? Read 1,000’s of program reviews on Abroad101!