Calendar.help: A Virtual Meeting Scheduling Assistant

Date

July 18, 2019

Speaker

Pamela Bhattacharya

Affiliation

Microsoft

Overview

Scheduling meetings is tedious. It gets even more challenging when people use different calendaring systems or meet across different time zones. People need to have multiple dialogues to find an optimal time for them to meet that takes away their ability to focus on more demanding tasks. Surveys on hundreds of information workers, in a wide range of industries and roles, have citied scheduling meetings as the most cumbersome task. While online calendar sharing tools like Outlook and Google calendar and polling tools like Doodle make scheduling less cumbersome, users still do not have a seamless scheduling experience. Leveraging state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI), we created a virtual assistant that could handle the conversational back-and-forth required for scheduling meetings, much the same way that executive admins schedule meetings for CEOs. Calendar.help is a system that provides fast, efficient scheduling through structured workflows. Users interact with the system via email, delegating their scheduling needs to the system as if it were a human personal assistant.