In the process of setting up briefings with the companies that Basex covers, we have become intimately familiar with the friction that is generated by miscommunications in calendaring. It often is a time consuming process to coordinate colleagues, who may well be working in different time zones, to meet with another company’s team, who also face the same challenges of distance and busy, constantly moving schedules.
In the knowledge economy, with an increasingly mobile and somewhat transient workforce, as well as the pressures of the current economic climate that is prompting organizations to slash travel budgets and depend heavily on Web-based meetings and conference calls, scheduling meetings in an efficient and tool-agnostic manner is critical.
Tungle targets this particular pain point through a Web-based calendar accelerator, a calendaring tool that works across multiple calendars such as Outlook, Google Cal, iCal, and Entourage. Originally an Outlook plug-in, Tungle Accelerate is a Web-based version of the calendaring tool. Users continue using the calendar they are familiar with, but data from their calendar is shared through Tungle so availability is visible in the Tungle interface to those trying to set up a meeting. Meeting requests are also sent through Tungle. From the Accelerate interface, users select people they wish to meet with and times they can meet, and send out e-mail invites. It is not necessary to sign up with Tungle to use it to set up a meeting with someone else, although it is necessary to do so to enable calendar sharing. Calendars are dynamic, so if a time slot is suggested, and then becomes unavailable, that is reflected in the link that is sent via e-mail, in real-time.
Tungle can be used from within social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In those social networks, users can create a link to Tungle called TungleMe, and embed the link on their pages. From that link, it is possible to see the persons’ shared calendar, select times, location, and add a message, then submit. On the other end, an e-mail is received with the proposed times, a time can be selected, and an e-mail confirmation is sent back. The meeting is automatically added to the users’ shared calendars.
Tungle addresses a particularly irksome problem in business settings although it is mainly used by consumers at this point. By eliminating multiple unnecessary e-mails between various parties – setting up a single meeting with four participants could easily occasion over a dozen individual e-mails – there is no doubt that Tungle has the potential to positively impact the problem of Information Overload. Indeed, Tungle recently announced a partnership with IBM to support Lotus Notes and Domino, which bodes well for improving streamlined enterprise calendaring in the foreseeable future.
Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.