AUTOMATICALLY DETERMINE SUGGESTED MEETING LOCATIONS BASED ON PREVIOUSLY BOOKED CALENDAR EVENTS

US 2011 184 768A1

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A method and system for determining suggested meeting locations based on previously booked calendar events is described. One aspect of the invention involves: receiving a meeting request including one or more participants, determining preferred meeting locations based on previously booked calendar events for at least some of the participants, determining suggested meeting locations based on the preferred meeting locations, and preparing them for presentation. The determining may be based on historical calendar activity or on previously booked calendar events during a time period corresponding to the request. Locations used most often by all the participants, or just one important participant, such as the meeting requestor may be preferred. Sometimes locations near the previously booked calendar events occurring before or after the meeting request time are preferred. Sometimes locations near the participant's base locations are preferred. Sometimes locations used by groups of a similar size are preferred.

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Claims

1. A computer-implemented method of determining suggested meeting locations, performed on a system having one or more processors and memory storing one or more programs for execution by the one or more processors to perform the method, comprising:
receiving from a meeting requestor, a request to schedule a meeting including one or more participants;
determining one or more preferred meeting locations associated with at least one of the one or more participants based on calendar information selected from the group consisting of: a respective participant's historical calendar activity over a predetermined period of time and previously booked calendar events of the respective participant during a time period corresponding to the request;
determining one or more suggested meeting locations based on the preferred meeting locations; and
preparing for presentation at least a subset of the one or more suggested meeting locations.

Show 13 dependent claims

15. A calendar system, for determining suggested meeting locations, comprising:
one or more central processing units for executing programs;
memory storing one or more programs be executed by the one or more central processing units;
the one or more programs comprising instructions for:
receiving from a meeting requestor, a request to schedule a meeting including one or more participants;
determining one or more preferred meeting locations associated with at least one of the one or more participants based on calendar information selected from the group consisting of: a respective participant's historical calendar activity over a predetermined period of time and previously booked calendar events of the respective participant during a time period corresponding to the request;
determining one or more suggested meeting locations based on the preferred meeting locations; and
preparing for presentation at least a subset of the one or more suggested meeting locations.

Show 6 dependent claims

22. A computer readable storage medium storing one or more programs configured for execution by a computer, the one or more programs comprising instructions for:
receiving from a meeting requestor, a request to schedule a meeting including one or more participants;
determining one or more preferred meeting locations associated with at least one of the one or more participants based on calendar information selected from the group consisting of: a respective participant's historical calendar activity over a predetermined period of time and previously booked calendar events of the respective participant during a time period corresponding to the request;
determining one or more suggested meeting locations based on the preferred meeting locations; and
preparing for presentation at least a subset of the one or more suggested meeting locations.

Show 6 dependent claims

Description

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/298,900, filed Jan. 27, 2010, entitled Automatically Schedule and Re-schedule Meetings through Search Interface, U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/298,902, filed Jan. 27, 2010, entitled Automatically Schedule and Re-schedule Meetings using Reschedule Factors for Conflicting Calendar Events, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/298,903, filed Jan. 27, 2010, entitled Automatically Determine Suggested Meeting Locations Based on Previously Booked Calendar Events.

This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/695,142, filed Jan. 27, 2010, (Attorney Docket No. 060963-5440-US) entitled Just-In-Time Conference Room Scheduling, which application is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, filed ______, (Attorney Docket No. 060963-5424-US) entitled Automatically Schedule and Re-schedule Meetings through Search Interface, which application is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, filed ______, (Attorney Docket No. 060963-5476-US) entitled Automatically Schedule and Re-schedule Meetings using Reschedule Factors for Conflicting Calendar Events, which application is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The disclosed embodiments relate generally to electronic calendars. More particularly, the disclosed embodiments relate to methods, systems, and graphical user interfaces for determining suggested meeting locations based on previously booked calendar events.

BACKGROUND

Electronic calendars are increasingly used to organize our lives. Such calendars are accessed from both desktop computers and portable computing devices (e.g., laptop computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile phones, and wearable computers).

One problem with calendaring is that finding an appropriate meeting location can be difficult. A variety of constraints need to be met, some of these constraints may be explicit such as size and needed amenities, while others may be implied such as proximity to the participants' base locations or proximity to other meetings attended by the participants before or after the meeting in question. Traditionally, meetings are manually scheduled by an administrative assistant or the meeting host who takes all of these factors into account and chooses the best available meeting location for most of the participants based on explicit and implied constraints and preferences. This system is time-consuming and cumbersome. Therefore, there is a need for an automated method of determining suggested meeting locations.

SUMMARY

A number of embodiments (e.g., of server systems, client systems or devices, and methods of operating such systems or devices) that overcome the limitations and disadvantages described above are presented in more detail below. These embodiments provide methods, systems, and computer program products for determining suggested meeting locations based on previously booked calendar events.

Past performance is an extraordinarily good indicator of future behavior. Certain conference rooms are often preferred by particular people for a variety of tangible and intangible factors such as its proximity to a user's base location or other meetings, proximity to the lunchroom, vending machines, drinking fountain, or bathroom, whether or not there is a window, a whiteboard, comfortable chairs, and plain old comfort that comes with the familiar. One potential solution to finding a perfect meeting location is to require the meeting requestor to explicitly specify many constraints. However, explicitly specifying many constraints can be time consuming and cumbersome. Another way to determine suggested meeting locations that will likely be preferred by the meeting requestor and its attendees is to look at what locations have been previously booked by them. The previously booked calendar events may include historical calendar activity over a period of time and/or they may include previously booked calendar events during a time period near the meeting in question. In both cases, information can be gleaned regarding the participant's preferences and used to determine suggested meeting locations for a new request to schedule a meeting.

As described in more detail below, one aspect of the invention is a computer-implemented method that automatically determines suggested meeting locations based on previously booked calendar events. A request to schedule a meeting including one or more participants is received from a meeting requestor. One or more preferred meeting locations associated with at least one of the one or more participants is determined. In some embodiments, the determination is based on calendar information such as a respective participant's historical calendar activity over a predetermined period of time. In some embodiments, the determination is based on previously booked calendar events of the respective participant during a time period corresponding to the request. Then one or more suggested meeting locations is determined based on the preferred meeting locations. Finally, at least a subset of the one or more suggested meeting locations is prepared for presentation.

Another aspect of the invention is a calendar system for determining suggested meeting locations. The system includes one or more central processing units for executing programs, and memory storing one or more programs be executed by the one or more central processing units. The one or more programs comprise instructions for scheduling calendar events as follows. A request to schedule a meeting including one or more participants is received from a meeting requestor. One or more preferred meeting locations associated with at least one of the one or more participants is determined. In some embodiments, the determination is based on calendar information such as a respective participant's historical calendar activity over a predetermined period of time. In some embodiments, the determination is based on previously booked calendar events of the respective participant during a time period corresponding to the request. Then one or more suggested meeting locations is determined based on the preferred meeting locations. Finally, at least a subset of the one or more suggested meeting locations is prepared for presentation.

Yet another aspect of the invention is a computer readable storage medium storing one or more programs configured for execution by a computer. The computer readable storage medium includes program instructions for determining suggested meeting locations as follows. A request to schedule a meeting including one or more participants is received from a meeting requestor. One or more preferred meeting locations associated with at least one of the one or more participants is determined. In some embodiments, the determination is based on calendar information such as a respective participant's historical calendar activity over a predetermined period of time. In some embodiments, the determination is based on previously booked calendar events of the respective participant during a time period corresponding to the request. Then one or more suggested meeting locations is determined based on the preferred meeting locations. Finally, at least a subset of the one or more suggested meeting locations is prepared for presentation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the aforementioned aspects of the invention as well as additional aspects and embodiments thereof, reference should be made to the Description of Embodiments below, in conjunction with the following drawings.

FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary distributed computer system, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary calendar server system, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary client, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary calendar database and an exemplary event record in the calendar database, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary user information database and an exemplary user record in the user information database, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating exemplary relationships in a social networking database and an exemplary user record in the social network database, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary communications database and an exemplary user record in the communications database, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary conference room database, an exemplary conference room record in the conference room database, and exemplary scheduling information in the conference room record, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 9 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary request queue or request log and an exemplary request queue/log record, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart representing a method of scheduling a calendar event, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart representing a server client interaction when scheduling a calendar event, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 12 is a schematic screen shot of an exemplary graphical user interface for displaying a set of candidate calendar events, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 13 is a schematic screen shot of exemplary graphical user interface for displaying details associated with a respective calendar event, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 14 is a flowchart representing a method of determining suggested meeting locations, in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 15 is a flowchart representing another method of scheduling a calendar event, in accordance with some embodiments.

Like reference numerals refer to corresponding parts throughout the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Methods and systems for scheduling a calendar event in an electronic calendar are described. Reference will be made to certain embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in conjunction with the embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to these particular embodiments alone. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents that are within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Moreover, in the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the invention may be practiced without these particular details. In other instances, methods, procedures, components, and networks that are well-known to those of ordinary skill in the art are not described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the present invention.

It will also be understood that, although the terms first, second, etc. may be used herein to describe various elements, these elements should not be limited by these terms. These terms are only used to distinguish one element from another.

The terminology used in the description of the invention herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. As used in the description of the invention and the appended claims, the singular forms a, an, and the are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will also be understood that the term and/or as used herein refers to and encompasses any and all possible combinations of one or more of the associated listed items. It will be further understood that the terms comprises and/or comprising, when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof.

As used herein, the term if may be construed to mean when or upon or in response to determining or in response to detecting, depending on the context. Similarly, the phrase if it is determined or if [a stated condition or event] is detected may be construed to mean upon determining or in response to determining or upon detecting (the stated condition or event) or in response to detecting (the stated condition or event), depending on the context.

As used herein, the term requester is used to mean a person scheduling, initiating, or organizing a meeting.

As used herein, the terms meeting and event are used interchangeably to mean a calendar event involving one or more participants. As used herein, meetings can include both single-participant meetings (e.g., a person reserving a conference room for a video or audio conference), and multiple-participant meetings.

As used herein, the terms invitee and potential participant have been used interchangeably to mean people who have been invited to an event, irrespective of whether they have accepted, declined, or not yet responded to the invitation. As used herein, the term required attendee is used to mean invitees whose attendance a requester has identified as required, irrespective of whether they have accepted, declined, or not yet responded to the invitation. As used herein, the term optional attendee has been used to mean invitees whose attendance a requester has identified as optional, irrespective of whether they have accepted, declined, or not yet responded to the invitation.

As used herein, the term conference room amenities is used to mean furnishings, equipment, and/or functions in conference rooms, such as one or more of: tables, chairs, desks, podium, blackboard, whiteboard, electronic whiteboard, overhead projector, slide projector, video monitor, video camera, video conferencing equipment, television, video cassette recorder (VCR), digital video disc (DVD) player, compact disc (CD) player, tape player, tape recorder, computer, network lines, phone, fax, sound system, flip charts, telecommunication equipment, window, and access to a wireless network.

As used herein, the term time-of-meeting constraints is used to mean meeting start date, start time, end date, end time, meeting duration, and/or schedule range.

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