Shared Calendars: Web, Desktop, and Mobile.

Published: August 29th, 2012

“I need to share our corporate calendar with all my employees, but only allow some people to edit it. … I need my staff to be able to access their calendars while on the road with events updated in real time. … My secretary needs to be able to manage my calendar without having full access to my other information.  …. We have separate, overlapping groups of people who need to have multiple calendars shared with different sets of people; we need event assignment notices and reminders – can you help?”

Shared calendars and event collaboration are topics high on the priority list for many of our customers.  Fortunately, LuxSci has a robust calendaring system complete with methods for fine-grained sharing, notifications, reminders, and access from desktop and mobile devices.

Fine Grained and Global Sharing

Each LuxSci user can have any number of calendars and each of these can optionally be shared with:

  • The user’s entire account
  • All people in the same domain as the user
  • A selected named group of people (e.g. the pre-defined “sales team”)
  • Specific people

You can share with both the entire account, user groups, and individuals — granting each set of people different levels of access to the Calendar.  E.g. some could have full access, some could have read only access, and some could have read access and the ability to make events and edit/delete only events that they have made.

Each sharee of a calendar will see that calendar in his/her interface and can choose to subscribe to it (to see it all the time) or to not subscribe to it (to make it less visible).  Administrators can also “force” users to be subscribed to specific calendars so that they always see them — a good thing to do for a corporate calendar, for example.

Notifications, Assignment, Tags and Reminders

With any shared resource, many people are collaborating on the content, adding entries, making events for others, etc.  LuxSci provides several mechanisms to streamline this collaboration process:

  • Event Assignment: Calendar events can be assigned to any set of individuals and/or groups of people.  Assignees can filter calendars by “events assigned to them” and can receive emailed notices when events are assigned to them.  (LuxSci’s Tasks WebAides tool also allows this and provides mechanisms for notifications when tasks are marked complete).
  • Tags: Calendar events can be tagged with any number of custom, colored “tags” to identify and clarify the events.  E.g. these tags could be related to the purpose, location, severity, or any criteria that you need.  The calendars are then drawn using these color codes for visual clarity and the calendars themselves can be filtered by these tags.
  • Reminders: Calendars without reminders would be pretty limiting.  LuxSci’s calendars allow you to create any number of reminders on each event.  These can occur at custom dates and times or intervals before the event, can send emails or text messages or pop-up windows to alert people.  You can create different reminders for different people — or multiple reminders for the same person if they need that kind of help.

Web-based Calendar Access

All LuxSci users can access their calendars via our web-based interface (or their private labeled version of it).  The web-based interface works in all major browsers (Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer) and provides many different ways to access and use your calendar information.

  • Full Calendar Interface.  The web interface provides a full screen calendar tool for managing differing daily, weekly, and monthly views of your calendars, consolidated view of multiple overlapping calendars, and event manipulation.
  • Calendar Widgets.  Users can create small “widgets” that allow display of “what is happening today” in any calendar, allow for simple event creation and basic navigation to different days.  These simplified calendar views are ideal when inserted into our “workspaces” with other related widgets — e.g. an email folder, a task list, some note pads, a blog roll, etc. all arranged on the same screen.  Widgets and workspaces are available to all users.
  • Hot Key Access. Calendar widgets are accessible from any page of LuxSci by assignment of a simple user-chosen hot key.  E.g. you could press “Alt-C” to access your corporate calendar from anywhere without leaving what you are working on.

Mobile Calendar Access

LuxSci’s Mobile Sync service provides real-time push synchronization of calendar (and contacts, tasks, and email) events between LuxSci and your mobile devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, tablet, etc.).   MobileSync ensures that your LuxSci calendar events appear in your mobile device’s native calendaring applications, that you can add/edit/view entries to the same degree you could through our web interface, and that you are always in touch with your schedule.

While Mobile Sync is an optional add-on service, all users can also access their calendars (and tasks, contacts, email, etc.) from LuxSci’s mobile web portal.  This web site is optimized for mobile devices to be simple, fast, and to look good on small screens.

Calendar Access from Other Programs

Microsoft Outlook

LuxSci provides a free “WebAideSync” plugin for Outlook v2003+ that enables users to synchronize their calendars, tasks, and contacts with their local Outlook folders.  This can be either “on demand” or a near real time sync.

Microsoft Outlook 2013+ in Windows 8 will also support real-time push synchronization of calendar (and task, contact, and email) data for customers with our Mobile Sync service.

Published iCal files

Users can choose to publish read-only copies of their calendars as “iCal” files.  This gives you a secure and optionally password-protected (or IP address restricted) link that you can enter in external applications so that they can download your calendar and display it to you.  This works very well and allows calendars to be displayed in many programs, like the Lightning plug-in for Thunderbird.

Export

LuxSci also allows manual exporting (and importing) or calendars as iCal files, and CSV files…. for external storage or downloading.

What do I need to buy?

What you need to buy depends on what you need to do.  Fortunately, the choice is quite simple. All users have most collaboration and sharing capabilities included.  E.g. everyone gets:

  • Multiple sharable calendars
  • Assignment, tagging, reminders
  • Access via the LuxSci web portal
  • Access via the LuxSci mobile web portal
  • Microsoft Outlook Sync Plugin
  • Published iCal files
  • Exporting
  • HIPAA-compliant access to calendar data via these mechanisms.

If you require access from your mobile devices, you will need to add the Basic or Premium Mobile Sync service to your account (the premium service adds email sync in addition to that for calendars, tasks, and contacts).  Mobile Sync adds:

  • Real-time push synchronization with mobile phones and tablets
  • Real-time push synchronization with Outlook 2013+ on Windows 8
  • HIPAA-compliant security for mobile access to calendar data.

 

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