If you're someone who spends your day in meetings, then keeping up with them all can be a daunting task. One app, Tempo, is trying to make the experience a bit easier, taking a big data approach to your schedule and turning your calendar into a personal assistant.
The free calendar app was created while founder Raj Singh was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Menlo Park, Calif.-based research institute SRI International, the birthplace of Apple's personal assistant Siri. Tempo uses some of the same technology found in Siri. But where Siri requires you to ask a question and then get an answer, Tempo instead tries to anticipate what information you need, and provide it, before you even know you need it.
“We like to say that it looks like a calendar, but it feels like an assistant,” Singh says.
Tempo works alongside your existing calendar, adding rich information to each entry to make you more informed and better prepared for each meeting. Paired with your email and LinkedIn account, the app can bring in relevant information about each person you're meeting with, the business they work for and any email or documents you might have relating to the meeting.
When you start communicating with someone over email, Tempo can automatically create an address book entry for that person. The app can also identify phone numbers in the signature line of emails, incorporating them automatically into your address book as well.
And get this: Come meeting time, Tempo provides driving directions to your off-site meeting, or will dial you in -- including access codes -- to a conference call. If you're running late, the app can text or email everyone in the meeting to let them know with a single tap.
All that additional data is one of the things Singh feels sets Tempo apart from its competition.
“I think the key difference is how we attack it [the calendar] as a sort of big data problem,” he says.
Since its launch in February the app has been used to find and organize more than 15 million contacts for users, and has processed over 1 billion emails and documents.
Singh says he sees a future where Tempo's data could be used to determine things like how many sales calls it really takes to make a deal or what Manhattan Starbucks is most popular for meetings on a Tuesday.
He also sees that data being exceptionally useful when layered on top of a tool like LinkedIn. Rather than just being able to see that two people are connected on the service, Tempo could show you how strong the connection is based on the number of meetings and emails between the two.
Singh says the more Tempo learns, the more assistant-like it will become.
Tempo is available now for iOS devices from the App Store, with support for other platforms expected in the future.
Emily Price is a tech reporter based in San Francisco, Calif. She specializes in mobile technology, social media, apps, and startups. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, PC World, Macworld, CNN and Mashable.