|By Paul Miller||
|April 22, 2009 10:50 AM EDT||
One of the biggest drains on time, effort and motivation in this business is the hell of arranging physical and virtual meetings with clients, prospects and podcast interviewees. Few of those people are in my timezone, we have no shared Exchange or Lotus Notes to endure rely upon, and I have absolutely no control over the calendaring solution that they choose to use in managing their own time. For all I know or care, half of them might still retain secretaries with quill pens to keep their paper diaries.
Over the years, I have tried a lot of tools with varying capabilities. Some were full-featured overkill that attempted to assert far too much control over my workflow. Worse, some of them tried to control the workflow of my invitees — people with whom I might only interact a couple of times — and that was completely unacceptable. At the other end of the scale, some were extremely simple and didn’t even understand the notion of timezones.
Of all these tools, I probably had most success with When Is Good, but still found myself tending to rely upon manual processes and a special iCal calendar called ‘Scheduling Hell’ into which I could record all of the appointments that I was in the process of confirming with people. The sea of red spread across my calendar most weeks — a mass of tentative appointments that would eventually resolve down to a far smaller number of actual events — is becoming a little ridiculous though; the waiting for invitees to respond means I’m often left unable to tackle new opportunities when they come up.
I’ve been trying a new tool for a little while, and am happy to report that I may finally have found the answer. The tool is Tungle, and it came out of beta this week to positive coverage across the blogosphere. I spoke with Marc Gingras, CEO of Montréal-based Tungle, this afternoon to hear a little more about the product and his company’s plans.
Tungle has come a long way since its initial alpha release of a plug-in to Microsoft Outlook two years ago. A $5 Million Series A investment led by Commonwealth Capital Ventures last year provided the wherewithal for the 18-person company to learn a lot from use of the Outlook plug-in and finish reinventing its tool for the Web, free of the platform and application limitations of their first offering.
Tungle now works with the major web browsers, and synchronises back and forth with calendaring solutions such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Entourage and iCal. Earlier this year they also announced a partnership with IBM to bring the same capabilities to Lotus Notes, which Gingras suggests will ensure coverage for 99% of professional users of electronic calendars. I have experienced one or two glitches in Firefox 3.1b3 under OS X, and although the team at Tungle have not yet been able to reproduce my problems they are looking into it. The site works perfectly well in the latest beta of Safari 4.
As a Tungle user, you are able to painlessly import one or more calendars and then keep them in sync with Tungle itself automatically. Tungle doesn’t replace your chosen calendaring solution, and does what it can to integrate seamlessly into familiar workflows. You are also able to import contacts if you wish, making it a little easier to invite people to meetings (you can select them from your contact list in Tungle instead of having to cut and paste or type email addresses) but also making it possible to share calendars in a manner already familiar to enterprise users of Exchange or Notes; but in a software-agnostic fashion that extends far beyond the corporate firewall. I’m not sure that this feature helps with my requirements, and have not imported any contacts yet; I’m quite happy to paste their email addresses in from elsewhere when I need to, and I prefer being in control of the meeting organisation process and the sharing of ‘free’ time with others. This is actually one of the most useful things about Tungle for me; it’s not a take it or leave it solution that requires me to do a load of things that I don’t want to. The meeting scheduling capabilities were what I wanted, and they work perfectly well without me having to take the rest of the feature set (including a ‘Meet With Me‘ capability that would allow anyone with a confirmed email address to request a meeting with me) before I need it.
Scheduling is a breeze, with a helpful wizard (and a tour) to walk you through the process the first few times. After selecting a topic, duration and location (which, helpfully, can link out to search Google Local for all those meetings you want to organise ‘in the coffee shop nearest X station or Y meeting venue’) you add the names of contacts you wish to invite and are then shown a view of your synchronised calendar in which you are able to select a range of possible dates and times for the new meeting. Invitees (who don’t need to be Tungle users themselves) receive an email directing them to a web page on which your proposed times are displayed, and simply select the time(s) that suit. Once the chosen time has been agreed it is automatically synchronised back to the organiser’s own calendar software (iCal in my case) via Tungle’s connector. Non-Tungle users receive an email with details of the confirmed meeting, in a format that may easily be added to their own calendar.
Anyone who has tried to organise meetings with busy people knows that the best course of action is often to offer a lot of possible times, in the hope that at least one will suit all the people you want to meet. The problem, as I found with my ‘Scheduling Hell’ calendar, is that you end up having to hold huge sections of your week for tentative appointments in order to avoid double booking. An incredibly useful capability in Tungle removes this problem almost entirely, as the times offered for a meeting are dynamic and can change (automatically or manually) after the invitation has been sent. Say I send two separate meeting invitations for appointments tomorrow. In both cases, the invitation offers any time between 9am and 6pm. The recipient of one invitation is quick off the mark and selects a 10-11am slot. The recipient of the second invitation then clicks on the link in the email they received and visits Tungle to schedule our meeting. Despite the fact that I offered them 9am-6pm, Tungle knows that I am now busy 10-11am and automatically adjusts the invitation to only offer 9-10am and 11am-6pm. Brilliant. Maybe I can wave goodbye to my Scheduling Hell.
Tungle also offers a useful set of management tools, and I have high hopes that those will continue to evolve; it would be useful, for example, to be able to temporarily overlay all the time slots currently offered to people on my calendar (a quick and dirty equivalent to my old Scheduling Hell calendar), and to have easy tools for chasing non-respondents after a period of time.
Given all of this functionality, how will Tungle manage to remain free? As it becomes more successful, its costs are only going to increase, and the company has committed to providing free access to the current feature set moving forward. There aren’t any ads, and while Jim Courtney points to future integration with WebEx or GoToMeeting there don’t seem to be many really compelling pieces to hold in reserve for a future subscription-powered version. Location-based advertising by coffee shops keen to attract the meetings of Tungle-toting mobile workers who will buy a latte and then hog the sofa and the power socket for a couple of hours? Surely not…
Gingras and his team are clearly thinking hard about this, with plenty of money still in the bank to support their free growth for a year or more and concerted effort being expended to lower the cost of acquiring and servicing new users as the site grows. Conversations with various interesting partners are moving forward, and he suggested that there will be news of partnerships — and various optional premium offerings — when the time is right.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Tungle: mother’s little helper (accmanpro.com)
- TimeBridge takes the headache out of group meetings (venturebeat.com)
- Reminders From Out of the Blue (nytimes.com)
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Jan. 20, 2017 10:45 PM EST Reads: 857
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Jan. 20, 2017 08:45 PM EST Reads: 4,363
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
Jan. 20, 2017 05:45 PM EST Reads: 2,094
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Jan. 20, 2017 05:15 PM EST Reads: 3,806
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 20, 2017 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,654
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
Jan. 20, 2017 02:15 PM EST Reads: 627
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jan. 20, 2017 01:30 PM EST Reads: 5,734
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Jan. 20, 2017 01:30 PM EST Reads: 5,239
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Jan. 20, 2017 12:30 PM EST Reads: 3,191
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
Jan. 20, 2017 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,657
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Jan. 20, 2017 12:30 PM EST Reads: 4,349
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
Jan. 20, 2017 12:15 PM EST Reads: 5,840
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Jan. 20, 2017 10:45 AM EST Reads: 3,709
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Jan. 20, 2017 10:45 AM EST Reads: 6,094
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Jan. 20, 2017 09:45 AM EST Reads: 2,937
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Jan. 20, 2017 08:30 AM EST Reads: 4,770
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
Jan. 20, 2017 08:15 AM EST Reads: 4,964
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 20, 2017 08:15 AM EST Reads: 4,726
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Jan. 20, 2017 07:15 AM EST Reads: 2,985
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Jan. 20, 2017 07:00 AM EST Reads: 9,089