With the technology we have now, most people own smart phones and spend more time on it to interact with friends and family via different social media apps available. So, when planning a group event with your supper/book/wine club, study group, running mates, music band, work colleagues, boys, girls, homey, family etc., you almost need to whip out your phone and start working away on your messenger app, calendar and few more apps just to make an event happen. Don’t you find it frustrating that these functions/apps are scatter all over the place? And you ended up having to go across different apps just to create an event. Smart phone? C’mon!
For smart phone users like you and me, once probably thought about why these functions never bunch up together as one app. Yes, maybe there are some apps out there that have these social functions, but it is never cleverly done since their functions are not designed for group communication. I recently discovered an app called “BAND”, which is becoming popular in Asia, and it is an app especially tailored for groups. It basically integrates an instant messenger, photo albums, community calendar together, and as well as bulletin board, group polling, file sharing, members birthday reminders, etc. It is so handy! Need me to say more?
Of course there will be some thinking “what’s the difference between this BAND and other instant messaging software?”. Yes, it might not make much of a difference if the group is less than 2-3 peeps, but with a group of than five then you will see how awesome BAND is! BAND pursues beyond chat and messaging functionality with a range of free tools. And even better, especially for those who does not own an Android or iOS smart phone, users also have the ability to access their BAND on desktop.
Let’s say if you like to eat out with your fellow food lovers a lot, so by making good use of BAND, we can first create a poll to decide which eatery we fancy to eat next, create an event with the built-in calendar, and post pictures onto the group album after the meal. With this all by using one app! In fact, does everyone ever noticed that even though you have created a group on a traditional instant messenger, and then everyone just post pictures every now and then after an event, these picture are not managed in one album and are all over the show. So BAND allows members to collaborate and archive group photos by event. What’s also great about this is that storage space is limitless (so far).
- Create that epic group:
After downloading and installing BAND, you can create your group with a range of pretty covers to choose from. Or else you can customized your own group cover to suit your group’s style.
You will see your “group profile picture” after you have created the group. So let’s start BANDing your fellow classmates, colleagues, friends, travel buddies, club members, team mates, families etc.!
- Invite your groupies:
One of the great things about BAND is that you can invite people via SMS. There are many other options as well, such as via whatsapp, WeChat, LINE, QRCode, email etc.
There are five main features shown on the group dashboard, namely: Board, Albums, Chat, Calendar, Members.
Board is the group’s home-base where you can keep up with the news feed from the group, like member X adds photos, member Y adds an event, member X attached a Dropbox file etc.
Calendar are there to organize event. Organizer can set up the location, send invitation the members. Afterward members can reply directly whether they want to attend the event or not, which makes it easier to telly up the number of people attending it! BAND will also send a reminders about the event beforehand.
That day we had some ice-cream and waffle. I took some pics and posted the pictures up on the group photo albums so that others members can view them. Other attendees can post pictures up on the same album as well.
Like Facebook, you can comment and like the pictures.
Chat is your basic messenger for the group. What I’ve found great about their feature is that even if you’ve changed to a different smart phone, and downloaded this app, the older messages will still be there. Compare to other messenger apps, once you’ve changed to a different phone, there are no backups for these messages. Also, if you seriously lack the passion to participate in the group chat, you can opt out anytime you like.
Within a group, a poll function or something alike is needed. I remembered once me and 20-odds numbers of friends trying to organize a get-together via “W-app”. Everyone has his or her own say and it was labourious just to decide where to go. With BAND, the poll can get every participating members’ consensus fast. I can just add a poll from Board by pressing ” add post”, and you should see a poll icon by the bottom of the screen.
Others tailor-made functions here are quite awesome as well, such as a to-do list (like completing project with co-workers, camping with friends),and split payment function.
After closing the poll and see where the majority wants to go, you can then create an event directly from that. You can also insert a map and address onto it which makes it easier for everyone to find the location of the event.
And of course at the Members tab you can see who are the members of the group. If you have some secret to spill but don’t want to tell the whole group, you can chat one-to-one by selecting the speech bubble next to that member’s profile.
You can also edit notification alert.
Overall, I really think this app software works really well! The design is cute and pleasant. And most importantly it is an app designed for groups. So why don’t you play it around and try it out for yourself with your groupies. Hope you love it as much as I do!
Reviewed on 11 July 2014.