Welcome to the App Lounge!
APT jumped into a new realm of technological savviness this year at its annual conference, held in Charleston, South Carolina. Not only was it held jointly with the Preservation Trade Network, but it was also APT’s first conference to have its own cell phone application (app) dedicated to the conference, papers, tours, sessions, and events. An app is a computer program for a cell phone or other mobile device designed to help a person perform specific tasks. APT's first Conference app was made possible thanks to a sponsorship by Vertical Access' 1% for the Planet gift. To take it one step further, APT also provided an App Lounge sponosored by Page & Turnbull, which I was happy to host, to support the conference attendees.
Not only did we want to support the launch of the new APT Conference app and support attendees in its use, but we also wanted to provide for discussion of other apps that could be useful to the preservation professional. Other potentially useful apps might be for use in the field, in the office, or in general practice and life. The App Lounge was successful in all of these things. We compiled a list of apps that might be useful in the form of a handout for the conference attendees to take with them. As there are a seemingly infinite number of apps, we also wanted feedback and had a place for attendees to write down their ideas for apps that should be added to the app list. We even had one attendee suggest the use of apps for historic building documentation/inventories. And so the app list grew!
Other exciting ideas that were presented include an upcoming interactive architectural styles guide app (currently under development, but scheduled for release in November 2012) and the demonstration of apps such as BUILDCALC and SPANCALC. BUILDCALC and SPANCALC were also generous in donating copies of their apps in a raffle to conference goers. The lucky winners were Richard Ortega, Neha Jain, Belinda Stewart, Patricia Miller, Myriam St-Denis, and Bruce Barton!
The most exciting thing for me, though, was to see how intrigued and energized the conference attendees were regarding apps. Many were embarrassed that they didn’t know apps or how to download them (but not so embarrassed that they were afraid to come talk with me about apps or ask for help). Many plainly said, “I’m dumb. Can you help me?” and used their age or generation jokingly as an excuse. To those people (and those reading this now) I told them it wasn’t so long ago that myself and others were learning just like them. To me, the App Lounge did much more than simply help people download the conference app, learn about a new app, win an app, or answer questions about an app. The App Lounge was an introduction to the world of apps; it nudged people in the direction of this newer way of collecting and transferring data. It has begun to make more people comfortable in exploring apps.
The picture at right shows me working with APT Past President Michael Lynch, FAPT. He remarked, "The App Lounge was worth the price of admission. As someone who hadn't yet used apps, I learned how to download useful tools like a flashlight app or a level app; but it also got me thinking about what else our profession could need from an entrepreneurial perspective."
So, the idea is to keep the conversation going. Feel free to post new app ideas or comments and criticisms of those we have listed. And to this I add, I can’t wait until the New York City conference next year! I look forward to a lively discussion.
Download the architectural styles guide synopsis.
Jason Wright can be contacted via email at email@example.com.