The initial reviews were pretty harsh; slow start ups, not saving information, maps folding and unfolding was annoying. Of course these were all for v1.0 and this review is based on what’s currently available, v1.2.
After downloading the app and registering with my badge number and zip-code I was off and ready to start.
SHOT Show 2011 App
At first launch, the app started asking me for information of products I was specifically interested in. I assume that this information will help in updating the app with suggestions, paid advertisements and suggested exhibitors based on the initial profile.
This beats signing up for the text updates, which when the show starts will be non stop, based on my past experiences. So be picky with what you select remembering that just because you choose a exhibitor to visit in your agenda, it doesn’t have to be one of your exhibitors of interest. But also remember that if you’re not inclusive with what exhibitors your interested in you may miss some new companies that would’ve shown up in the suggested exhibitors listing.
From the Home GUI (Graphical User Interface) there are a few short cuts that are quite useful. A full exhibitor listing, featured exhibitors (or paid advertising exhibitors), specials (more paid exhibitors), new products, education, my show and event services.
The event services icon is really useful, as there is a barcode and electronic copy of your badge along with all of the helpful phone numbers and contacts should you have registration issues. Also included in event services is housing information with hotel information as well as services/furniture/freight for all of the exhibitors.
Now here is where it starts to get really good! On the Spring Board there are additional navigation buttons, Show Planner, Here & Now, Agenda and Maps.
Show Planner gives you full access to everything. All of the exhibitors, seminars or education and even suggested exhibitors based on the profile you entered earlier. From any of these tabs you can choose the exhibitor and see where their booth is or even add them to your short list of booths you want to visit. This is very cool and well thought out approach to building your game plan for the show.
In addition, FOXPRO was really thinking ahead here. After you see where the exhibitor’s booth is, and add them to your agenda, when you go back to the Show Planner you’re right back where you left off. This is great for us “A” types, as we would just get pissed off because we have to scroll back through everything, toss the app and go back to writing things down on a yellow pad.
You can also search the exhibitor database and find out if there’s a specific booth you want to see or special swag you want to nab before they run out. As described before, you can map the booth, add to your short list and even add notes and reminders so you don’t forget what you’re there for. Or maybe you just need to know what time happy hour starts!?
Here, Now and the Map
There is also another great feature that must be mentioned. I attend and exhibit a ton of shows a year. Most are DoD related and have several lectures and forums during show hours. Often I get into discussions or meeting with customers and lose track of time. The “here and now” feature allows you to enter your location by closest booth and tells you whats around you, what specials are going on at that moment and what educational events are being conducted.
This leads me to the best feature of all about this app, THE MAP! (Did I mention how awesome this app is?) If you’ve ever been to a large show like SHOT or CES you know that you can only count on one thing, cell service WILL SUCK! It doesn’t matter what carrier you have, it will not work. So having this feature is huge. You enter the booth number you’re standing in front of and what booth you want to go to and it will map it out. Need to go from Level 1 to Level 2? No problem FOXPRO thought of that to!
Now to the issues posted on those reviews. All of the exhibitors that I saved were there when I shut down the app and relaunched it, so no issues there at all. The start up on the app is very long, again for us “A” types; considering though that the app is updating and it’s a lot of information, it is reasonable. You can also cancel the update which disconnects from the server and finishes the launch.
I’m sure there are a few things I missed that you may think are awesome or suck, leave a comment below and tell us about them! Also see if you can catch us at the show and get your limited edition SHOT Show 2011 ITS Tactical Poker Chip! We’ll be posting some details on an ITS meetup in Vegas as well, so stay tuned for the update!
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