Wednesday, March 21, 2018
What's Appening Apps are one of the fastest-growing markets for technology. With so many mobile devices—from smartphones to tablets—available to consumers, having an app for ease of use is practically required (for some devices, they are required). There are millions and millions of apps available for your preferred device—whether it’s Apple or Android—with more being created every month. In this column, we feature some of the latest and most useful apps that will help you with your business, streamline a process, or generally make your life a little easier.

Airtable Airtable
Available: iOS, A
Big events and groups have so many layers of permits, insurance requirements, meetings, and bureaucratic nonsense that it’s frustrating to keep track of all of the goings-on. Ask any operator who just finished working the Super Bowl and they’ll tell you that organization is critical.

There are a ton of project management tools out there; one that we’ve been eyeing for a while is Airtable, which is a sleek, very streamlined app that is pretty simple to use, too. Airtable has plenty of templates to choose from—depending on your project input—that are completely customizable for your needs. And there are hundreds of templates to choose from, so you can find one that best fits your project needs. Having all of those documents and permits at any of your team members’ fingertips is priceless on a busy event day.

You can have unlimited users connected to a database (which they call “base”), but you are restricted to only 1,200 ­records per base with the free version. It also allows you to set priority for each project and assign a person or team responsible. You are also able to attach files, such as photos, PDFs, documents, video, and even music to each record, although the total file size is limited to 2 GB per base with the free version (In contract, the Pro plan gives you 20 GB of space).

Highlight: There are three paid versions available (monthly): Plus ($10 per user), Pro ($20 per user), and Enterprise (contact them for pricing). The free plan is enough for some smaller companies that don’t have a lot of projects or need to manage massive databases of information. Airtable is also easily accessible via app or online at a workstation.
Freedom Freedom
Available: iOS$
Distractions are everywhere, and the biggest offender is often the thing we carry in our pockets every day. You may not even be aware of just how obsessed you are with your phone until you can’t use it.

In true 21st-century style, of course there’s an app called Freedom for blocking your use of the internet, email, or social media sites—or the entire web, if you choose. You set the time period and apps/sites you want to block so that you aren’t tempted to break your concentration on other seemingly more important tasks at hand. Available for desktop and mobile options, the free download has a seven-day trial period after which you can opt for either the $29 annual plan or $129 lifetime use that includes unlimited blocking sessions.

Freedom is no-frills, no-nonsense blocking for those who feel it will boost their productivity.

Caveat: Freedom isn’t foolproof, and people with too much time on their hands have found ways around the app that is meant to keep those distractions at bay. We found that it gets the job done, unless you are a motivated hacker.
Airtable Feedly
Available: iOS, A
Of course, the other end of the spectrum is being well informed and up to date, but it can be all-consuming with literally billions of pages to read or watch online. The app Feedly gathers RSS feeds from up to a hundred sites and delivers the most relevant content to your board for a quick review, to save for a later read/watch, or to dismiss (Feedly also mines YouTube for content). Or, you can filter what sites you want Feedly to mine for your own customized library of topics. Have a favorite writer? You can follow them across the web wherever they may post. You can easily share with others via a linked social media account or email.

The Pro version is available for about $65 per year, which may be worth it to organizations that need robust access to competitive intelligence from a variety of data points. Pro offers features like backup to Dropbox, integration with Hootsuite and Buffer for posting to social media, annotation, and unlimited source searching. You can set up Google Keywords in the paid version so that your feed will include topics that you’re closely watching—like information about your corporate clients.

Highlight: Feedly is fully integrated with other popular apps like Slack, Evernote, and Trello, to name a few, with the Pro version. You can also read content offline, and it is available as a free app on your Kindle reader.

Do you use an app that you love and want to share it with the industry? Let us know! Email Susan Rose at

Just for clarity: Apple products=iOS • Android devices=A • Windows devices=W
While many of the apps we profile will be free, a $ next to the platform indicates that there is a fee to download and/or use. Some versions or features of the app may require a fee to unlock or use.