You’re at your office desk. It’s time for the conference call. You open your calendar app and look for the dial-in number. You pick up your phone and dial the number. When prompted, you punch in your participant code. You may or may not enter in those numbers correctly, by the way, depending upon how busy or distracted you are. And then, at last, you’re in the conference.
By my calculation, that process required about five steps and probably several minutes to complete. MobileDay, a free iOS and Android app, wants to set you free from such drudgery. Instead of all that rigmarole, you launch the app, view your calendar, and click the conference call appointment. MobileDay enters the dial-in and the passcode participation numbers for you, and you’re ready to go. Grand total of steps: Three. Time required: Less than a minute.
MobileDay is particularly helpful if you’re joining a conference call on the road. Which of course you know you shouldn’t do while driving, and which of course you do anyway. At least MobileDay will help keep your eyes on the road longer.
MobileDay isn’t a one-trick app, however. You can easily send text and email messages to meeting attendees with prepared messages such as, “I’m running late,” “Is the meeting still on,” and that perennially popular message, “I’ve got better things to do, hasta la vista, baby.” By entering your current conference calling service account info, you can easily schedule future calls, too.
Caveat time. MobileDay did not recognize any of my iPhone calendar appointments. Instead, I get this message: “Lucky you! You don’t have any upcoming meetings in the selected calendars.” A company spokesperson suggested I kill the app (double-click the iPhone’s bottom button, hold your finger down on the MobileDay app icon, and click the red circle icon to shut it down completely). Once you restart the app, you’ll see your calendar data. The fix worked for me. The spokesperson said the problem is related to iOS 6 and an app update that fixes the problem should be live in the App Store at any moment.
Also, be aware that MobileDay isn’t your only easy conference calling smartphone app. I reviewed FreeConferenceMobile several months back, which makes it easy to initiate and participate in calls using the FreeConference service. The app, which I had mixed feelings about, is available free for iOS and Android. The BlackBerry Mobile Conferencing app loops BlackBerry users into conference calls with a button press or two. Other apps to investigate include CalenDial ($1.97, Android) and CallFriends (free, iOS), which is more about hooking up with Facebook friends.
Finally, keep in mind these apps connect you to conference calls on your mobile phone, and we all know how spotty call quality can be on our smartphones. What I’d truly love is a conference call app that dials my landline number, then hooks me into the conference. Does anyone know if such an app exists? If so, please share the details in the comments below.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.