It’s Showtime! Get App-Happy to Get the Most out of Scuba Show

If you’re a veteran California scuba diver, you already know that the Scuba Show is the place to be on June 23-24, 2018. It’s the largest consumer diving event in America, but like a family reunion for the diving community where anyone and everyone connected to scuba hangs out for the weekend. And not just the locals, either. This event attracts folks from faraway places like Australia and Indonesia. And Florida.

Long-time attendees know how to get the most out of this event, which features exhibits and seminars and a “Try Scuba” pool for their friends and family, and an interactive art station, parties and more. But there’s a lot going on and it’s easy to get caught up in it and miss something important. And if you’re new to the Scuba Show scene it might seem overwhelming. All of which is why the show has its own app. This article will talk about the show in terms of how the app can help you manage and navigate it.

GETTING APP-HAPPY

If you’ve never imagined your cell phone as your portable event planner, you’re in for a treat, because there are all sorts of ways you can use the app before, during and after Scuba Show. First, the app is available free for download on any device, and accessible for free from any web browser. To get it, browse the iTunes or Google app stores. Once you’ve downloaded the app and established a login, you are able to access your personalized information across all of your devices (if, for example, you want to browse the schedule and make notes on your desktop, and then refer to the schedule you created while you’re walking around the hall on your phone). Here are some examples:

Before: Browse exhibitors by category and create a sortable personalized list of companies that you especially want to see; read up on the seminars and save the ones you’re interested in to create a custom schedule; browse new products before the show and create a list of those; and talk to other attendees.

During: Use the app to navigate the floor and check off exhibitors on your list as you visit them and make notes to return to the ones that were busy; take notes about exhibits and during seminars; and get instant alerts and updates.

After: Email yourself all of your notes from the seminars and booths you visited; visit websites of companies you weren’t able to make it to or want to look into further with just one tap; exchange details with new dive buddies.

Here’s how to use the app — by section:

EXHIBITORS

Of course you’ll want to visit all of the exhibitors, but the app lets you formulate a plan to visit the ones that are must-sees and you don’t want to miss. Browse a full list of exhibitors, or if you’re looking for something specific, tap “Sort by Category” — the list of exhibitor categories is broad and includes travel destinations by global regions, underwater photography, dive equipment by product category, dive associations and certification agencies, dive careers, nonprofit organizations, underwater art, jewelery and apparel, and more. (All exhibits at the Scuba Show are diving related.) Then at the show you can sort your exhibitor “hit list” by aisle for easy cruising. When you tap into an exhibitor, you have the option to add them to your list of favorites, make any notes, or visit their website. Your notes and schedules are only visible to you.

TIP: Spend time looking through the exhibitor list before the show. Tap “Add to Favorites” to save exhibitors you’re interested in. When you arrive at the show, refer to the list you’ve created to make sure you get to see everyone that caught your eye. If a particular exhibitor that you wish to meet is busy, use the app to “tag” their booth as a reminder to return to visit them again later. After the show you can revisit your notes on favorite gear, classes or events offered by exhibitors.

NEW PRODUCT SHOWCASE

Interesting new products are being previewed at the Scuba Show this year. Underwater propulsion vehicles and drones, brand new lighting and photographic technology, exposure protection, gear transport, dive computers, masks, fins, regulators, BCs ­— the show is is the perfect time to look at and shop for the latest scuba gear and accessories and on the show floor. At the show you’ll find a New Product Showcase — an actual glass showcase set up at the convention center with many of diving’s newest products on display. Those same products appear in the app in a ‘virtual’ showcase. Use this section of the app to study the products in advance, and note which exhibitors carry the ones you’re interested in.

SEMINAR AND SHOW SCHEDULE

Each year Scuba Show features a strong lineup of industry veterans who’ll share their knowledge on a wide range of scuba-related topics. This year ICUE (International Conference on Underwater Education) (or IQ) will return to the schedule with a two-day series of seminar topics for anyone with an interest in diver education. Unlimited access to a full day of seminars is just $25 but the challenge is that you can only attend one seminar across each hour. The app lets you study all of the seminars and learn about their speakers so that you can make relaxed and informed decisions, and add them to your schedule. The show also hosts a number of seminars that are free to the public, put on by exhibitors who want you to know about their products and destinations. You can plan for them as well. If you are attending the show with another person, you might wish to “divide and conquer” — with each of you attending different seminars and taking notes to share later.

In fact view everything that is scheduled during the Scuba Show — this includes professional workshops, seminars, free presentations, door prize drawings, fun photo booths and more. You can view by time, or sort by “track” (e.g. seminars, door prizes, etc). When you click into a schedule item, you’ll find a detailed page listing the location and time of the event, any associated speakers and a description. From here, you can also add items to your schedule, take notes, or tweet right from the page.

TIP: Create a plan of attack for seminars by adding them to your schedule. When you’re done, view your favorites, tap ‘Schedule’, and then export your schedule to your device’s calendar. Then you’ll be able to customize notifications so you don’t miss a single session. (Note: You only need to export once — all changes you make after that will be automatically updated in your calendar.)

TIP: Have the app open during your seminars (but make sure your phone is on silent.). Take notes as the presentation is happening. At the end of the show, you’ll have full documentation of all of your notes, organized by session. You can send this info to yourself or a friend with the tap of a button.

PROFILES, ATTENDEES AND GROUP DISCUSSIONS

In order to take advantage of the personalized features, such as creating a schedule and saving exhibitors, you will need to enter your email address (your email address is not visible to anyone, and it is not shared). You’ll have the opportunity to also fill out a profile — if you don’t wish to share information with others, simply leave the fields blank.

If you tap on the icon in the top right of the app (the person), a menu will slide out that includes your personalized information. You’ll see upcoming schedule items you’ve selected, or tap one of the four icons below to quickly access your lists. Access and send all of the notes you’ve taken, or chat with fellow attendees and exhibitors.

In the ATTENDEES section, you will find other registered Scuba Show attendees. Use the bio space of your profile to let other attendees know why you’re at the show — maybe you’re looking for more dive buddies, local dive site recommendations, or camera tips. Note: please respect your fellow show-goers — spam or unwanted messaging will not be tolerated. Should you have an issue with another person on the app, tap the APP & SHOW INFO section and report it via the “Help Desk.”

The GROUP DISCUSSIONS section is for show attendees and exhibitors to talk all things scuba with each other. Everyone at the Scuba Show has a common bond (scuba and marine environments, of course.) and group chats are designed to help you feel more connected to your fellow divers, exhibitors, presenters, and the sport itself. Use the sections to ask fellow show-goers questions, get gear recommendations, discuss preferred entry methods, favorite local dive sites and destinations and more.

APP AND SHOW INFO

Full of quick links to important information, this is where you’ll find app how-tos, awards, tickets, show times, and a help desk where you can send questions or report inappropriate behavior.

MAPS

You’ll find several maps in this section:

  • Exhibit Hall — pinch to zoom in on the map. The booths and aisles are listed, along with a few show highlights, including the art booth and photo stations.
  • Seminars — This map will help you locate the seminar rooms.
  • Points of Interest and Parking — This interactive map of Long Beach pinpoints parking, restaurants and other attractions within walking distance of the show.

SATURDAY NIGHT PARTY

This will be a special party honoring the 60th anniversary of Sea Hunt, the TV show that got millions of people interested in scuba diving and the oceans. The California Scuba Service Award will be awarded posthumously to the show’s star, Lloyd Bridges, and accepted by his daughter Lucinda Bridges and co-star Zale Parry. The party will be a raffle/silent auction fundraiser for No Kid Hungary, a charity inspired by Jeff Bridges who is also their spokesperson.

This section of the app will provide you with up-to-date details about the free Saturday Night Party, happening Saturday, June 23, at the Aquarium of the Pacific from 6:30 pm -11 pm. Find general event information and browse listings of the silent auction and raffle prizes you can win (gear, trips, art and more.).

SOCIAL

You’ll be with everyone at the event, but here’s a way to keep up the event online, too. Follow the action on the hashtag (#scubashow), and access the official Show social media accounts. And by the way, the show organizers LOVE seeing what you’re up to at the show — so tag away. There might even be a prize or two up for grabs for being social.

Virtually planning your Scuba Show weekend in advance is a great way to get the best out of it in real-time, with real friends who are just as excited about diving as you are.

California Diving News © 2016