It’s not often that meeting planners can persuade attendees to disable their phones while at a business session. But a relatively new product might make it easier when audience distraction is a prime concern for an event host.
Yondr bags are foam pouches for cell phones with locks that event staff can quickly enable as attendees walk into a session; attendees keep possession of their phones and simply put them on silent mode before placing them in the pouch. Attendees who must use their phones during a session can step out to the prefunction area and unlock their pouches by waving them across eletronic keys set on cocktail tables. Once the session ends, both the tabletop keys and event staff with handheld devices can disable each lock as attendees walk out.
A Broadway production used it recently with success. Check out how it worked.