One Diary is (another) attempt to make your calendar smarter. But, unlike something like Sunrise, which just landed a hefty funding round led by Balderton Capital, the UK startup isn’t trying to be a calendar app to replace your existing one, but is focusing instead on being the middleware between you and your calendar of choice.
In its current consumer-facing offering, One Diary lets you link the service to Google Calendar, Apple’s iCloud, or Microsoft Exchange/Outlook, to make it easy to share specific events to a shared calendar. It does this by utilising hashtags that you predefine and by handling the heavy under-the-hood lifting required to sync up and continuously watch for new events.
So, for example, an event you add to your calendar with the hashtag #family would be pushed to your family’s shared calendar. That way you don’t need to expose all events via a public iCal, which is only secure by obscurity.
Other use-case examples cited by One Diary founder Adam Bird include: CEOs sharing their movements with their team without sharing all of the confidential detail; business travellers sharing their travel plans with their families; and project teams curating all meetings relating to a particular theme.
“When people you invite sign up, we create a copy of the shared calendar in their account and keep it in sync. They are also prompted to set up their own tags to share events into that calendar. So the shared calendar becomes collaborative,” he explains. “One Diary then watches their calendars for that hashtag to appear in the notes field of any event and creates an always in sync copy on the shared calendar for all subscribers to see.”
However, like Sunrise, Bird sees One Diary’s long term potential as a platform to enable other apps to interact with your calendar. Or a ‘Stripe for calendars’. Last week, the startup quietly rolled out an API to enable developers to do just that, as well as signing a partnership with Mougli, the booking and scheduling service for SMEs.
“App customers can use [a] One Diary account to provide single, unified access to any calendar,” explains Bird. “We handle the heavy lifting of data model mappings, authorisation flows and keeping it all up to date and working.”
Regarding the ways in which apps might utilise One Diary’s API, Bird says timesheet and project tracking apps could use the meeting data in calendars to auto bill time to the correct client. Or a field engineer could have their appointments and all relevant data put directly into their calendar. Another example might be a video conferencing provider who could automatically add dial in details.
“Currently the only way to do some of this is a read-only ICS feed,” adds Bird, who has form building platforms. Prior to One Diary, he was previously CTO and co-founder of Esendex, the text messaging service provider to Ocado, Virgin Media, Addison Lee and other business customers across Europe and Australia, which exited last year for £11 million.