For the 27th annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologists, held in Amsterdam in May, the team at MCI put the entire conference in delegates' hands with a versatile, information app. MCI's Hugh Torpey explains how:

Special Events What made you decide to create the app for your event?
Hugh Torpey We wanted to enhance the delegates’ experience. Most people have smartphones or some sort of device and an app is a fantastic method of delivering information to them. When you combine that with the sustainability advantages, it’s a no-brainer.

SE What were your goals for the app--what did you want it to do?
HT Because we were giving it to the delegates for free, we wanted an information-driven app. Essentially, we wanted to create an interactive scientific program.

SE From start of developing the app to the event, how long did the process take?
HT A few months, which was longer than I originally thought. It’s a case of listening to your developer on what’s possible within the budget and then match that to your goals.

SE Did your app do everything you wanted it to do?
HT Yes. As I said, it wasn’t flashy, but it did everything we wanted it to. Delegates were able to store the scientific program in their phone and rearrange it to their preferences; that’s a win.

SE Was there something that you wanted the app to do that just didn't work out?
HT We wanted to have it sponsored but with no app history and the length of development meant that it wasn’t an option. In technical terms, the matching of the wireframe with the constantly updating scientific program was a real challenge, but we and the delegates were extremely happy overall.

SE Can you tell what percentage of your attendees actually used the app? Did they like it?
HT We had a 30 percent take-up rate. They loved it, and we’ll certainly be developing an upgrading version for their next meeting.

SE If you had it all to do over again, would you do something differently?
HT I would set key deliverable dates where content would be uploaded. If your scientific program is finalized two weeks before, that’s when you should give the developer the information--not before. Limit that information to what they need to build the application, nothing more.

SE Is there something else we should have asked you?
HT Nothing! Although everyone should be aware of the stringent Apple approval process.