Chances are if you work in any business, you’ll have meetings from time-to-time, quite possibly everyday. In fact, you may go days or weeks at a time where you’re never out of meetings.
This is where Meeting Assistant is hoping to help, a $0.99 iPad app that promises to make organizing business meetings more efficient.
Meeting Assistant is all about preparing for meetings, creating agendas (with built-in templates) and minuting key outcomes to circulate there and then to all present.
The iPad-only format is a deliberate move, targeting those who increasingly use their tablet to take notes and organize their business life, instead of penning away at an A4 notepad. The larger-screen real estate offered by an iPad is critical for the intended user-base here. That’s not to say they couldn’t produce a smaller-screen incarnation with reduced features, of course.
Anyway, less rambling…there’s work to be done.
How it works
When you first launch the app, it’ll take a few seconds to load before asking you to access your iPad calendar, automatically reeling in any meetings already scheduled.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is the tidy interface and spacious layout – everything seems to fit naturally into place.
Once you’ve connected your calendar, you can browse your meetings by date and confirmed attendees. Nothing too groundbreaking so far, you’ll no doubt agree.
But a little deep-diving reveals some pretty neat features, including social network integration.
For example, you can connect with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, which helps pre-populate key details of the attendees.
Tapping your social profiles, CRM platforms and contacts from your iPad itself, Meeting Assistant makes profile cards for all attendees, which lets you all know who’s who.
Finland’s Punos Mobile, Meeting Assistant’s parent company, has also partnered with Dun & Bradstreet to let users request commercial information for companies across the world.
Meeting Assistant can automatically ‘parse’ an impromptu agenda from the calendar invitation, and it also comes with a number of agenda templates, while also letting users create their own from scratch.
The agenda items can be scored off as the meeting progresses.
Minutes and outcomes can also be recorded during the meeting, with key actions points, notes and memos a central part of Meeting Assistant. They can be distributed to others once a meeting has ended.
It’s also probably worth noting that calendars of all users are automatically synced, and the app is available in five languages – English, Finnish, German, Russian and Spanish.
Though the app is only $0.99 to download, there is a $3.99 in-app subscription cost to access some of the key features, including social integration and customized agenda templates.
“As a business process consultant for the past decade, you can imagine the amount of business meetings I’ve been involved in,” explains Hannu Alakangas, founder and CEO of Punos Mobile.
“It was seeing how poorly-organised and managed the majority of these were that inspired me and the team to create Meeting Assistant,” he continues. “Based on this and our desire to offer users access to decision-critical business data at their fingertips, we have created Meeting Assistant which we believe will change the prevalent, inefficient business meeting culture for good.”
There are other similar apps out there, but often they lack certain key features, have too many features or are too expensive. Meeting Assistant certainly isn’t changing any games by any stretch of the imagination, but it does maintain focus and strikes the right balance between features and price that will make it appeal to many people.
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