Anyone who has ever lost locally-stored appointments in Outlook due to a hard drive crash knows how frustrating it can be. Yet storing appointments in a mobile device can be difficult, especially if the calendar isn’t available on the other devices someone is using throughout the day. Users have learned that the answer to continual accessibility is to move files and applications to the cloud, so it’s only natural they’ll look to similar solutions for keeping calendars.
In choosing a solution, however, professionals must consider a variety of factors. One of the most important is the ability to send appointments and meeting requests to co-workers. Another is accessibility from all of their devices. But one of the most important features in a cloud-based calendar is its ability to eliminate duplicate entry in a user’s life. When an appointment is entered, it should only have to be entered once.
Here are a few cloud calendar solutions that can help professionals organize their daily lives.
Anyone who has set up a Google account for any reason can easily set up a Google Calendar. Once implemented, this free calendar can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, including a PC or smartphone. One of the biggest benefits of Google Calendar, however, is the ability to share it with associates, friends, or even family members. With reminders and notifications, users won’t have to worry about missing an appointment again. The app even provides offline access to allow users on the go to see appointments when they’re in an area that lacks internet access.
Users with a Microsoft account can opt to use Outlook.com’s calendar app. The app includes a task list, as well as integration with social media accounts that can even display friends’ birthdays. This is one of the few areas where Outlook.com has an advantage over Google. For users who are currently dealing with navigating Windows 8, Outlook.com could be a great option. The calendar can also be synced with a user’s iPhone or iPad.
iPhone and iPad users have grown accustomed to the iCloud Calendar, but many don’t realize the app can be set up to function on a variety of devices. This includes Windows computers, although the setup process does involve a few steps. You can choose to sync your mail, contacts, calendars, and tasks with Outlook during this process. With the iCloud Calendar, when an item is deleted on one device, it is automatically synced across all the other devices to ensure everything is always up to date.
Users are now well aware that they no longer have to stay with the calendar app included with a mobile device or email account. The cloud has opened up multiple options for users that include syncing existing calendars with other devices or simply going directly to the web to access appointments. Google remains one of the most popular options, especially for Android users who can easily access the calendar from their device of choice. Since all of these options are free, users can’t go wrong with any of these cloud-based choices.
Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at ComputerSupport.com, helping small business executives get the most out of their technology investment.
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