Get ready for C&E by equipping yourself with the mobile app: the comprehensive onsite guide that fits in your pocket and alerts you about important events. Sounds like a sales pitch? Well, I've been testing it out and would like to share with you what I think are its best and/or most interesting features.
NFPA 2013 C&E mobile app is the name and networking is the game. That's right! We've gone and added networking among the many useful features of this year's mobile app. Friends is a fully opt-in social plug-in that allows you to see who's attending and invite them to be a "Friend". Once you're linked to each other, you can send messages, view each other's schedule, and even remove them from your friends list if they misbehave. No stalking, people!
The enhanced Maps feature will offer you directions on the expo floor. Let's say I'm at the conference with several colleagues (which I will be) and I want to meet up with them at the NFPA booth between sessions. I can view all their schedules via Friends, find a time we're available and send them a message. I arrive on the expo floor a bit early and decide to look around. It's a fairly large place and directions would be helpful. From within the app, I look up NFPA under exhibitors, tap "get directions" and then tell it whose booth I'm near. A second later, a nice trail leads me to my destination. Indoor mapping is still a fairly new technology and not yet widely available. In my opinion, the expo map does a pretty good job.
Still skeptical? If you you're a little hesitant to jump on the social media bandwagon, this may be good place to start. It's simple, the community is fairly limited, and you can leave it at any time. Just remember that any personal information you choose to share will be at your sole discretion. There are plenty of other features to rave about if you're not ready put your virtual identity out there.
The new features may be exciting, but the real value of this app remains the session schedule and content. As in prior versions, My Schedule will build your conference schedule based on the sessions and special meetings you select and show it to you in a familiar calendar format. You can also add your own items to this calendar. I like adding my own items. I'd really like to see it integrate with the calendar on my smartphone, but I suppose there need to be some boundaries. Bonus - It will alert you when your next session is coming up!
The rich content you're likely familiar with includes downloadable session handouts, speaker bios and session descriptions. In addition, videos provided by NFPA offer several minutes of entertainment, a photo gallery will display photos taken by conference attendees and all of NFPA's social media channels are available from within the app, which means you don't need to have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ to view them.
NFPA's goal is to provide you with the tools to get the best experience possible while navigating your way through unfamiliar territory. Spend some time with mobile app before you get to the show. I'm sure you'll discover something noteworthy!
Downloading the NFPA 2013 C&E mobile app is easy!
Scan the QR code at left to the download the app.
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For iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and Android devices: Visit your favorite app store on your device and search for NFPA.
All other mobile devices: While on your smartphone, point your mobile browser to www.m.core-apps.com/nfpa-ce13. From there you will be directed to download the proper version of the app for your particular device, or, on some phones, you simply bookmark the page for future reference.