Friday, November 18, 2005

Groupware for Skype: The beginning of a whole new level

There's a new calendar+groupware in town for Skypers and it brings some slick new features with it. AirSet software allows users to manage all their groups - family, work, social - in one place using a free Web-based service that includes calendars, address books, to-do lists and blogs. Airset was described to me as a "Lifeware" product for the small companies, and individuals that want control of their life but don't have access to MS Exchange servers and the complex systems that groupware traditionally requires. The more I've played with it the more it makes sense to me. I'm not part of a large company and yet I do need to coordinate calendars, and updates with others. Similarly, many social networking services for me are simply 'broken" as they don't integrate effectively with the events in my life. It's also responds quickly as a result of being "Ajax-enabled". I'll leave that to the real techies. I'm pleased to see Airset incorporate Skype. By using Skype presence information and adding easy calling it provides a whole new dimension to managing events. It's also yet another illustration of where communications is going. Thinking about setting an appointment for the group; Skype makes it easy to check online; potentially reducing time and adding productivity. By adding Skype, now voice services are integrated so instant conference calls or mulit-chats can help with what were once logistical nightmares. Airset is also demonstrating what "mashups" are all about. If you look deeper they are also hooking into Google Maps and tying mapping information to contact details. Thus uploading your contacts means you now have a map at a click for everyone. A point worth remembering is you can manage your groups, (eg a groups calendar) and never ever have any of your contacts join up and be Airset members. AirSet will still send them messages and reminders. For those wanting to augment email reminders with mobile updates then Arena has a premium service which I'm sure is going to evolve to add a lot more. Updates are sent by email and SMS is ready to integrate with your mobile phone. Overall it synched quickly and easily with my Outlook contacts and calendar system. I even feel happier that I now have a backup for that part of my life! There are other Skype related groupware products in the works. However, this is a strong signal (even late!) that companies providing other core services (eg an accounting package) should be racing to add VoIP functionality to their solutions. Another thing to keep in mind. Airena like others should be complemented for testing and moving forward with Skype and Google Maps API integrations. However, soon we are going to see IM agnostic solutions. Airset could just as easily cross connect different IM systems or turn their learnings to Google Talk or Gizmo. So whats your Calendar solution? Does it integrate with Skype? Can you access it anywhere? Check it out, it's cool and it's free :-) AirSet software


  • Skype Journal Review http://www.skypejournal.com/blog/archives/2005/11/verosee_skypes_groove_killer.php
    It's frankly the best wrapper for Skype yet released. It's also the best demonstration of what Skype has to offer when integrated into collaborative work platforms.
    You can live in it and switch between workspace projects while managing all your Skype interactions at the same time.
    I'm looking forward to Skype's response. I don't think Skype even knows they are about to enter the Groove space.
    This is definitely one of the most professional (Skype-based apps.). It also reaffirms my belief in developers continuing to develop with and for Skype.
    This proof of concept could just as easily be working with Google Talk if Google got on and released an API.

    By Blogger Jim Asiano, at 11/23/2005 12:10:00 AM  

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