The rise of smart phones and tablets is changing some key premises of team building as planners have known it for decades. These devices, especially iPhones and iPads with their camera, display, GPS and gaming capabilities, are laying the groundwork for team-building challenges that are not only more immersive and fun than their predecessors, but also able to harvest attendee data.

Best TeamBuilding spent three years developing and trademarking its SmartHunts app for iPads, which enables several types of team-building exercises across a resort, a city or even a continent. The Dunedin, Fla.-based company now offers 20 team-building games that add and blend Web searches, video filming and playback, live actors, and GPS with the quizzes, contests and physical challenges found in conventional team-building programs.

Teams on SmartHunts receive a flow of clues, maps, quizzes and other information; meanwhile, their data and any video they shoot are uploaded on the fly. By the time they return to the starting point, the company has produced standings and assembled a rough cut of teams’ photos and video for all participants to see. (A professionally polished eight-minute version is sent out two days later.)

Mark Gilicinski, cofounder of Columbus, Ohio-based Mobile Xpeditions, which also creates high-tech team-building challenges, says the economic advantages of this approach over pen-and-paper versions are undeniable.