App Mania Part I: SSI’s New Digital Training Platform

Just in time for DEMA Show 2014, the forward-thinking folks at Scuba Schools International are debuting a comprehensive media platform to bring all the strengths of their print and classroom training into the digital age. In addition to web accessibility, the program is available for iOS and Android users and seamlessly integrates SSI‘s quality training content so that students and certified SSI divers can study anytime, anywhere.

Their creative director Colin Davidson gave DeeperBlue.com a sneak peak at the app today on the convention floor. It’s a slick affair, with high production values and intuitive navigability, plus a variety of functions to help divers manage every aspect of their dive life right inside the app. C-cards are imported and then stored offline, and boats are already accepting them without question — Colin field-tested that one personally. The dive log feature keeps track of your regular buddies, allowing you to import their profile information and even sign off on the dive with nothing more than a fingertip and a smartphone. And there’s a product tie-in: the new SSI app will integrate with the Mares Icon HD Pro dive computer to directly upload your dives into your log.

As shiny as all that is, the real star of this show is the training content.

SSI has coordinated everything in their training library into what Colin calls one dynamic content stream. Whether divers are logging in online or through the app, or even kicking it old school with the printed text, the content is identical, word for word, in the same order. And say you want to read it on the plane: simply free-load before takeoff and maintain access offline. You can even answer your review questions this way, and as soon as radio contact is re-established, your scores will automatically upload. With a competitive twinkle in his eye, Colin tells DeeperBlue.com, “We’re miles ahead of where PADI is this year. You can write that down.”

To add an extra level of polish, SSI completely rewrote their open water course.

Throughout the training, they now note which pieces of gear are necessary and why, a strategy that Colin says will help student divers understand the benefits of shelling out cold, hard cash for their own equipment. To soften the blow to the billfold, they’re making their Scuba Diver Program — which includes the first three chapters of the open water course — available for free.

The app drops January 1, 2015 and will be available in thirty languages, translated by native speakers for optimum readability.

Leveraging technology to reach more divers in more places then ever before, SSI is looking well-positioned for cyber success.

Erin Durbin-Sherer