Microsoft has unveiled a new meeting scheduling tool named FindTime that is designed to provide Outlook users with a more efficient method of arranging meetings. The latest release from Microsoft Garage, an R&D initiative that allows consumers to trial Microsoft’s latest apps and services, FindTime is designed to facilitate the process by which coworkers identify meeting times that are convenient for all parties.
The concept behind FindTime is by no means new. Many similar applications, such as Doodle, Timebridge, and NeedToMeet, are already available on the market. However, what gives FindTime the edge is that it integrates with Outlook, which means that it could serve as a useful edition to an application that already has millions of users.
Once installed, users simply propose a meeting on FindTime and then invite all attendees to vote on which times and dates are the most suitable for them. Through utilising Outlook’s free/busy availability information, FindTime helps users to identify appropriate meeting times before then allowing the invitees to accept or reject an invitation to attend, propose alternative meeting times, mark which date and time are the most convenient for them, or take a look at how other attendees voted. Once a consensus on the best time and date for a meeting has been reached between all invitees, the system automatically sends out a meeting confirmation on the organiser’s behalf.
One of the biggest benefits of this system is that, although it has been specifically designed as an Outlook add-on, anyone can participate in a meeting poll regardless of whether they are Outlook users are not and/or whether they are internal or external to the organiser’s place of work. All recipients have an opportunity to vote on the meeting time using the FindTime website and can send and receive information about a meeting regardless of which email system they use. There is also the added functionality of encrypting any personal information, such as email address, subject, and attendees.
FindTime is currently available for Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, and Outlook Web Access. However, according to Microsoft, it is best suited to the Office 365 platform.