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Using calendar entries to improve communication

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014537D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Idea of disclosure: E-mail is an asynchronous communications mechanism. Because it's asynchronous, e-mail senders don't know when to expect replies. For time-sensitive issues, this can be a problem. In such cases, senders often follow-up e-mail with a phone call, a page, or an office visit to inform the receiver that the e-mail is important. However, this is really redundant. If the e-mail is important, it will have a priority such as "urgent" attached, so the receiver already knew the e-mail was important. The real problem is that the sender does not have a reasonable expectation of when his e-mail will be returned. Different people return e-mail at different frequencies and at different times of day. When people return e-mail is usually based on their normal working profile, e.g., they read and respond to e-mail every evening, or based on their schedule for a particular day, e.g., they are in meetings from 10 a.m. 1 p.m., so they can't respond during those hours . A similar problem exists with voice mail messages, which are also asynchronous. This disclosure describes a way to leverage calendar entries to provide information about when e-mail and voice mail are checked. It also provides a way, based on a calendar profile, to allow messages to be forwarded, in a "follow-me" way, based on the profile and the entry on the calendar.

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Using calendar entries to improve communication

Idea of disclosure: E-mail is an asynchronous communications mechanism. Because it's asynchronous, e-mail senders don't know when to expect replies. For time-sensitive issues, this can be a problem. In such cases, senders often follow-up e-mail with a phone call, a page, or an office visit to inform the receiver that the e-mail is important. However, this is really redundant. If the e-mail is important, it will have a priority such as "urgent" attached, so the receiver already knew the e-mail was important.

The real problem is that the sender does not have a reasonable expectation of when his e-mail will be returned. Different people return e-mail at different frequencies and at different times of day. When people return e-mail is usually based on their normal working profile, e.g., they read and respond to e-mail every evening, or based on their schedule for a particular day, e.g., they are in meetings from 10
a.m. - 1 p.m., so they can't respond during those hours . A similar problem exists with voice mail messages, which are also asynchronous.

This disclosure describes a way to leverage calendar entries to provide information about when e-mail and voice mail are checked. It also provides a way, based on a calendar profile, to allow messages to be forwarded, in a "follow-me" way, based on the profile and the entry on the calendar.

Description of disclosure: A calendar contains valuable information about what a person is doing or plans to be doing. However, this information is currently under utilized by other applications, such as e-mail and voice mail. This disclosure explains how the information can be used more effectively. In addition, it describes calendar enhancements that can further improve usefulness.

The first aspect of this disclosure is the ability to allow other applications to look at a user's calendar to determine where they currently are, and when they will be free to respond to asynchronous events like e-mail and voice mail. When one user (S) sends mail to another user (R), a process checks R's calendar, and returns where R currently is, i.e., in a meeting, on vacation, on a trip, etc., and it returns when they will be free, i.e., "in meeti...