If you’re one of the many people who don’t have their own personal scheduling assistant, you know that setting up meetings can be time-consuming and tedious. Sending emails back and forth, trying to find a time that works best for each person, can take time away from more critical tasks.
What can make it easier for planners and other professionals to schedule appointments with vendors and site visits with venues? A scheduler powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can send correspondence and set up meetings for you. That’s the goal of Microsoft’s new project, which goes by the name of Calendar.help. The scheduling tool uses Cortana, Windows 10’s digital personal assistant, to take care of all of your scheduling needs.
Calendar.help is powered by Microsoft Research, Outlook, Cortana and Genee, a scheduling AI technology startup that was recently acquired by Microsoft. The project emphasizes natural language in correspondence so users get the experience of having a real assistant handle the process.
How to use Cortana to schedule a meeting:
1. When using Calendar.help, write an email that gives Cortana instructions to specify the meeting’s length, general timeframe and location. Cc Cortana in the email, and she will look through your calendar to find times that you are available.
2. Cortana contacts your invitees to propose times for the meeting. Once they reply, Cortana continues the conversation until a suitable time is found.
3. If attendees fail to respond within 48 hours, Cortana also follows up with them.
4. Once date and time are confirmed, Cortana creates an event in your calendar and sends an invite to everyone involved.
Currently, Calendar.help is available only to those who sign up for a preview waitlist, but it should receive a broader rollout in the coming year, when it is sure to be a hit with many meeting and event planners.