The beauty of the first iPhone is that it took many of the things you needed on a daily basis (a way to communicate, a source of news and information, a local guide), added a few things you didn’t realise you needed (a camera, a portable games console), and consolidated them in a single device.
Woven does for scheduling what the iPhone did for everything else.
Created by Tim Campos, former CIO at Facebook, and Burc Arpat, a former engineering lead at Facebook and Google, Woven is a calendar app that uses sophisticated AI, among other things, to take scheduling to the next level.
“The calendar is a pain to use,” explains the CEO, Tim Campos. “It’s fragmented across your personal life, your work and your hobbies and you have to patch together a series of third party add-ons to make most calendars useful.”
Woven fixes this perennial problem by integrating your existing calendars across Google and Microsoft 365 into one and then giving you a set of tools for managing your meetings, events, and other calendar based-interests.
“We sync all your calendars into one place, we upgrade them with features that calendars should include by default and then we give you smart tools to better use and understand your time like smart templates for fast time blocking and analytics to help you understand where you’re spending your time.”
At long last, you don’t need to go through the rigmarole of opening multiple calendars and sending multiple emails just to arrange a cup of coffee.
Woven has a ton of features, but some of our favorites include iMessage integration, smart templates, analytics, the built-in map, and the newly added Zoom integration.
Let’s start with that, since it’s a perfect illustration of the way that Woven is routinely being upgraded with the features that you’re going to need.
The number of Zoom calls taking place has shot up over the last few months, from 10 million in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020. With many of us now working from home, video meetings have become the norm – and some are predicting that things will stay that way, even when the global lockdown ends. This is something the official Woven sites explores in greater detail too.
So naturally you can arrange Zoom calls through Woven. All you need to do is head to “Settings” in Woven, tap “add/manage accounts”, scroll down until you find the “Zoom Account” section, and then tap “Add your Zoom account”.
After logging in and giving the necessary authorisation, you’ll be able to visit “Settings” again, choose Zoom as your default conference type, and you’re away – no more fiddly emails and texts.
It’s now easier than ever to schedule a secure zoom-bomb-proof meeting without having to keep track of confusing links or passwords, and join a call in one-click.
If you’ve ever scheduled a Zoom meeting, you’ll know just what a boon this is. And if you’ve scheduled a thousand Zoom meetings in the last two months, you’ll know all about the dread malaise that settles on you as the hours of stilted, halting video calls stack up.
This is where another of our favorite Woven features comes into its own: analytics. Woven’s powerful analytics suite allows you to see exactly how many hours you’ve spent in Zoom calls, how much preparation, how many meetings, and so on.
In the words of the development team, Woven’s analytics help you, “schedule and visualize the time you’re spending in Zoom meetings every day and week so you can avoid the dreaded Zoom fatigue.”
But it’s not only helpful with Zoom. Along with the “busy bars” that appear on your calendar view, which give you a clear visual indication of how busy you’re going to be every morning and afternoon, Woven’s analytics provide you with a clear, easily digestible picture of how you’re spending your time. You can use this picture to organise your working life more efficiently, simultaneously cutting stress and increasing productivity.
Analytics are so valuable in this regard that Woven is planning to refine them further. “The next step that we’re looking to do is to build out ways for people to intuitively better understand where and how they’re spending time so they can spend it on the things that matter most.”
Woven’s built-in map, meanwhile, not only gives you directions to the locations of your appointments but tells you how long it’ll take to get to them by your chosen method of transportation, and gives you the option of blocking off this travel time. Naturally, this travel time appears in your analytics.
Smart templates are another headline feature of Woven. These are templates for recursive activities such weekly staff meetings, business lunches, exercise classes, meal planning, conference calls, and so on.
“Create a smart template or two that are the building blocks for types of meetings you have often,” recommends Tim Campos. “For example, I have a phone call smart template with a 30 minute increment, my cell phone attached, a phone emoji and tagged ‘phone call’.”
You can create smart templates around Zoom too. “One template people are finding helpful is a Zoom template. It’s an event that’s 30-60 minutes, auto-generates a one-time Zoom link, and is colored specifically so you can easily visualize your week and see when you have video calls scheduled at a glance.”
Creating a smart template is as easy as selecting “Create Template” in event options, choosing the type of meeting or event you want to create a template for, and adding the relevant info. This includes attendees, location, conferencing information (e.g. Zoom details), time, and any other personal tags you might want to use to help with analytics and scheduling.
You can use templates to quickly schedule your week or even time block your life so you can take advantage of parkinson’s law and be more productive.
Neatly, Woven has full iMessage integration so that you can create and use a smart template entirely on your phone.
“The iMessage integration allows you to use a smart template to generate a scheduling link without leaving iMessage”, explains the dev team. “This is incredibly powerful and lets you schedule a meeting in a couple of clicks.”
Check out Woven yourself by visiting the official site here.
Once you’ve created a smart template, you’ll be able to take advantage of another of Woven’s standout features: scheduling links. These are links that you can publish or send out to your contacts containing your availability. All your guests need to do is pick a time from the list on offer – they don’t even need to be Woven users themselves.
Scheduling links are ideal for all sorts of applications, including customer calls, meetings during a business conference, advertising office hours, and so on.
“Calendars are HARD to build,” the Woven team explains. “That’s why you see more third party add-ons and little tweaks to fix existing calendars rather than people trying to reinvent the calendar entirely.”
But Woven is a whole new calendar, and it’s still in the process of being built from the ground up. The Woven team is understandably confident about its prospects and its place in the market.
“Now, the product is very close to being the best calendar solution on the market anywhere and lets you do things that even industry stalwarts like Google Calendar and Office 365 can’t do on their own.”