There was a time when a yearly paper calendar was all anyone needed to get by. Whether you got one from your school or church or purchased one emblazoned with scenic photographs or your favorite pop culture figures, these calendars help many people document and keep track of important dates and events in their lives.
But in today’s digital world, paper calendars don’t provide the functionality or utility necessary to complement our busier, complex lifestyles. As with many aspects of our lives, calendars have migrated into the virtual realm. According to a study from ECAL, 70% of respondents claim they rely on a digital calendar to manage most of their life.
Chances are, you probably use at least one digital calendar – if not multiple – to keep track of personal and professional matters between your friends, family, and colleagues. This makes easily accessing and managing those digital calendars critical to stay on top of everything and reap their productivity benefits.
Let’s look at today’s digital calendar landscape. We’ll dive into how they impact our daily lives and how tools like a calendar API can help businesses and applications increase scheduling productivity for end users.
The rise of the digital calendar
A digital calendar is a record documenting important dates, occurrences, and events. Digital calendars can be used for most scheduling scenarios and allow users to:
- Manage meetings, dates, and recurring events digitally
- Create, edit, and share invites or reminders with attendees
- View the availability of other calendar users
- Edit and share online access to a calendar with others via calendar sync
There are many digital calendar options available. Let’s take a quick look at three of the most popular ones.
1). Google Calendar
Google Calendar is inarguably one of the most popular and widely-used digital calendars. More than 1.5 billion people have a Google account, which is all you need to create a Google Calendar. The mission of Google Calendar is to help users spend less time managing their schedule and more time enjoying it.
They accomplish this feat with a host of useful features. Examples include a dynamic schedule view, Gmail sync that automatically adds events from your Gmail account to your calendar, and smart suggestions for creating event titles and choosing invitees and locations. Google also provides multiple different views of your calendar (day, week, month). It stores your events online so you can access them safely and securely from the device of your choice.
[Related Link: Learn how to integrate the Google Calendar API into your app]
2). Outlook Calendar
If the Microsoft suite is more your jam, you’re likely familiar with the Outlook Calendar. By combining their email and calendar service, Outlook comes included with any Microsoft 365 subscription or is available in a free online version.
Like Google Calendar, Outlook provides many of the same calendar functions. It includes the ability to plan meetings, collect RSVPs, toggle between multiple views of your calendar, and create multiple color-coded calendars. And because Outlook includes email functionality, Outlook Calendar users can easily share their events and availability with their contacts.
[Related Link: Nylas Calendar API supports recurring events for Office 365, Outlook, and Exchange Calendars]
3). Apple iCalendar
Last but certainly not least, Apple’s iCalendar is another prominent digital calendar. Focused on augmenting the productivity of Apple users, iCalendar’s user interface allows users to quickly enter events and keep track of their busy schedules for a convenient calendaring experience.
iCalendar boasts many of the same features as Google and Outlook calendars. However, iCalendar also comes with a full suite of productivity tools that enable users to drag and drop events to update their timing, copy and paste events, create custom repeating events, and add custom alerts/reminders for events. All of these offerings ladder into Apple iCalendar’s promise of letting users schedule their days colorfully.
[Related Link: Learn how to integrate with Apple Calendar using Nylas]
The benefits of using a digital calendar
Digital calendars provide handy features that physical calendars simply cannot support. This makes digital calendars essential organizational tools that can substantially increase productivity levels. Some of these productivity-enhancing use cases include:
- Setting up alerts and reminders for important events
- Blocking off time to focus on priority tasks without interruption
- Connecting to other mobile devices for easy access to your calendar at all times
- Adding useful attachments and links to enhance scheduled events
When it comes to choosing between the wealth of digital calendar options available, users prioritize simplicity above all. Fifty-seven percent say a digital calendar’s ease of use is the most important feature for them when considering which one to use, followed by a well-designed UI and the availability of alerts or reminders.
Make connecting, managing, and syncing digital calendars easy with a calendar API
When you look at the market share of digital calendars, it becomes clear why solutions for connecting and managing them across multiple providers are imperative. The simple fact is every smartphone comes with a built-in digital calendar, which is the second most commonly used app after email. Current estimates place smartphone usage at 6.648 billion users, which translates to roughly 83% of the world’s population having access to a digital calendar in the palm of their hands – and that’s not even taking into account desktop versions of these calendars.
The value and usage adoption of digital calendars are unmistakable. However, connecting, syncing, and managing digital calendars from multiple providers within an application gets tricky. End users need this infrastructure to access and view their calendars and those of others without migrating outside of an app – a crucial productivity win. This makes supporting a connection to all digital calendar providers a massive competitive advantage.
However, building connectivity can be exhaustive from a cost, resource, time, and maintenance perspective. Enter a calendar API, which lets developers build a secure integration between calendars across service providers and streamline scheduling workflows within an application.
With the Nylas Calendar API, developers can quickly build a single point of integration to every calendar provider that accelerates product velocity and time to market. On top of that, apps can capture the data from connected digital calendars to unlock valuable insights. This allows them to build automated user workflows and improve user experiences through features such as event sync and reminders, time zone detection, and much more.
Ready to explore more of what Nylas has to offer? See how fintech software company Acre grew their user base by 580% since embedding scheduling with the Nylas Calendar API, or dive straight in and schedule your own demo today.