Observations from CalConnect XXXI in Bedford, United Kingdom

CalConnect held its thirty-first Conference and Interoperability Test Event the week of September 29 – October 3, hosted by Youcanbook.me in Bedford, United Kingdom.

The week led off with the Interoperability test Event on Monday, which had 15 participants from 9 organizations onsite, plus an additional 4 people from 3 members participating remotely. On Wednesday afternoon, the Conference opened with 19 participants from 13 members present, plus several others joining remotely for one or more sessions. Following our usual practice for European conferences, the regular Conference sessions were held largely in the afternoon, with Thursday and Friday mornings dedicated to Workshops and BoFs (Birds of a Feather sessions).

Here’s what’s trending from CalConnect XXXI:

Trending – Membership

In the weeks immediately preceding CalConnect XXXI, two organizations joined CalConnect, raising the total to four new members since our May event.

  • Burbio, based in Burbio, based in Pelham, New York, offers a calendar sharing and synchronization platform built for local communities such as suburban towns.
  • SmoothSync, based in Dresden, Germany, offers a synchronization tool for Android apps syncing with iCloud and Yahoo.

Trending – Technical Committees (TC’s) and Provisional Committees (PC’s)

  • TC FREEBUSY provided a live demo of a VPOLL (consensus scheduling) client, and expects to be able to demonstrate multiple clients and servers at the next CalConnect Event featuring multiple implementations each on its own server via iSCHEDULE (server-server scheduling).
  • TC FSC (Federated Shared Calendars) and TC SHARING (Contacts and Calendar Sharing for CalDAV and CardDAV) were formed from the Contacts Sharing and FSC Provisional Committees at the end of the last event, and offered their first sessions as Technical Committees at this event.

Trending – Interoperability testing

The interoperability testing was very successful, with 15 participants onsite from 9 members; additionally 4 people from 3 members attended the test event remotely. As always much testing of various CalDAV features. Some new implicit scheduling implementations testing against clients. TC IOPTEST will start building a list of areas to test next time immediately – starting early may help to provide some specific implementation goals. In particular we hope to have initial implementations of the PUSH specifications being developed by TC PUSH.. A more detailed accounting of the interoperability testing is available at CalConnect Interoperability Test Event Reports.

Trending – Special Events

Two Workshops were held on Thursday morning and Friday morning: Groups Scheduling and Sharing and History and Comment Feeds in iCalendar. A Birds of a Feather session on developing a unified Calendaring & Scheduling Architecture was also held on Friday. All three subjects seem likely to result in new work areas for CalConnect, and will probably be returned to at the next event for further exploration.

Trending – Documents, Specifications and Standards

Much of the work in CalConnect is focused on specifications to be submitted as internet drafts to the IETF with the goal of helping progressing them to become RFCs (Proposed Standards); other work is published directly by CalConnect itself or submitted to other standards organizations.

Published documents :

CalConnect internet drafts adopted for progression via IETF Working Groups:

Updated internet drafts and published RFCs:

Trending – Organizationally

Mike Douglass of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was the fifth recipient of the CalConnect Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Douglass has been active in CalConnect since 2005, and currently serves as the Chair of TC EVENTPUB, TC IOPTEST, TC TIMEZONE, and the co-Chair of TC FREEBUSY, in addition to being the CalConnect Interoperability Test Manager since 2011.

Wrapping it all together

CalConnect wishes to again thank Youcanbook.me for helping to make CalConnect XXXI such a productive and enjoyable week, and to the organizations who participated in the event. Youcanbook.me did an outstanding job with event logistics, hosting our conference at The Higgins Museum in Bedford, a departure from our usual conference rooms at member facilities or the occasional hotel, and we enjoyed The Higgins and its onsite caterers and restaurant The Pantry very much.

The next CalConnect event will take place January 26-30, 2015 in San Jose, California,hosted by Kerio Technologies. We’ll be posting more information about this event going forward, and we invite you to join us and learn more about what we are doing moving forward.

Mike Douglass of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Fifth Recipient of CalConnect Distinguished Service Award

At CalConnect XXXI, hosted by Youcanbook.me in Bedford, United Kingdom, Mike Douglass of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was honored as our 5th recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.

Mike became active in CalConnect in 2005 when Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute joined CalConnect, and has remained intensely involved ever since. He is an engaged participant and presenter at CalConnect conferences. He has attended every event RPI joined CalConnect, save for one he reluctantly missed while recuperating from major surgery – but he did call in when he could!

Mike actively participates in nearly every Technical committee, chairing many of them – EVENTPUB, IOPTEST, TIMEZONE, XML, and co-chairing FREEBUSY. He has authored or co-authored several specifications and internet drafts, including CalWS-REST and CalWS-SOAP, Event Publication Extensions to iCalendar, Improved Support for iCalendar Relationships, Objectclass Property for vCard, Timezone Service Protocol, and working with the OASIS WS Calendar Committee, WS-Calendar.

Finally, Mike has been the Interoperability Test Event Manager since 2011, when the Board made it into a volunteer position, and oversees the test event while conducting his own testing and helping others.

CalConnect thanks Mike for his long and varied service to CalConnect and his many contributions to our success.

CalConnect Welcomes SmoothSync

CalConnect welcomes SmoothSync as a member of the Consortium. SmoothSync, based in Dresden, Germany, offers a synchronization tool for Android apps syncing with iCloud and Yahoo.

Less than Four Weeks to CalConnect XXXI in Bedford, September 29 – October 3, 2014

We’re within four weeks of the next CalConnect event, which will be hosted by Youcanbook.me in Bedford, England; here’s a link to the original blog post about this event: CalConnect XXXI Blog Post and here’s the link to the actual CalConnect web page for the event: CalConnect XXXI.

During the TC FREEBUSY session Thursday morning at 1100-1200, we will have a demonstration of inter-system consensus scheduling. The demo will feature multiple clients running on different servers (and implementations) performing consensus scheduling, based on VPOLL, iSCHEDULE, and jCAL.

In addition to our regular sessions during the conference, we have two workshops planned to see if we should consider undertaking work in these areas. If so the outcome would be the establishment of Provisional Committees for one or both to explore the scope further and recommend a way forward to CalConnect.

Workshop: History and Comments feeds in iCalendar Thursday 0830-1000:

In shared calendar environments, in particular, it is useful to know who changed an event or task, when the change was made, and what those changes were. Whilst a sophisticated “versioning” system could cover that, a lightweight approach may be better. In addition, users often want to be able to comment publicly or privately on an event or task, generating a “stream” of comments that can be reviewed (rather than just having the last comment visible as is typically the case today).

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss each of these issues in more depth with the goal of determining possible solutions to these problems. Consideration will be made for scalability, useability, and the desire not to reinvent the wheel wherever possible.

Workshop: Groups Sharing and Scheduling Friday 0830-1000:

Much of the focus of scheduling and sharing of calendar data has been for use by “individuals”. However, in many “enterprise” and “social” environments, individuals often have a common “purpose” that can be represented by placing those related individuals into a “group”. When groups exist, it would be convenient to be able to schedule or share data with all members of the group, and have changes to the group membership over time impact the scheduling and sharing states.

For example, a company might setup a group for a specific project that a number of individuals are working one. A team meeting for project members is scheduled every week. When a new team member arrives, they are added to the group. At that point it would be convenient if they were also automatically added as an attendee of the weekly team meeting. Similarly, if an individual is no longer associated with the project and removed from the group, they should be automatically removed as an attendee of the team meeting.

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss how automatic management of group attendees and group sharees could be achieved on a CalDAV server and, in more general terms, via iTIP. We will examine different use cases, or “modes”, of group scheduling and sharing with a view to addressing concerns of scalability in particular.

Non-members are welcome to attend a single CalConnect Conference as an Observer so please consider joining us, especially if you have an interest in either or both of these areas, in addition to the areas we’re currently working in.

CalConnect Welcomes Burbio

CalConnect welcomes Burbio as a member of the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium. Burbio, based in Pelham, New York, offers a calendar sharing and synchronization platform built for local communities such as suburban towns.

CalConnect – The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium – is returning to Europe this autumn

Our first three European conferences, in 2011, 2012, and 2013, were very successful, and our European colleagues encouraged us to return again this autumn. Therefore, CalConnect XXXI will take place in Bedford, United Kingdom, on September 29 – October 3, 2014, hosted by Youcanbook.me.

We encourage our European colleagues and others interested in Calendaring and Scheduling to join us. We’re working to make this event as attractive as possible to organizations that are not currently members but have thought about exploring CalConnect, and a European event is a chance for people to participate in a CalConnect event without having to incur the travel costs and time of coming to North America.

CalConnect is a collaboration between calendaring and scheduling vendors and users. It was established to further interoperability between calendaring and scheduling implementations, and works towards this purpose by driving the evolution of calendaring and scheduling standards through technical committee work, holding regular interoperability testing events, and hosting regular conferences, workshops and symposia focused on calendaring and scheduling.

European companies were among CalConnect’s earliest members, and as standards and interoperability are both central to CalConnect’s mission and are strong core values of European Information Technology, we have long recognized the importance of increasing European involvement in CalConnect. To that end we held special events in Europe in 2007 and 2008 in preparation for our first regular CalConnect conference in Europe in 2011. This autumn’s event in Bedford is one which we hope will continue with even greater European participation in CalConnect’s interoperable calendaring and scheduling efforts, and we applaud the increased involvement by Europeans in our technical activities over the last few years.

Overview

Our venue will be The Higgins Art Gallery and Museum in Bedford, located on Castle Lane, Bedford, Mk40 3XD United Kingdom. The Higgins is a short walk from the Conference Hotel, The Bedford Swan, and other accommodation alternatives, All events of the CalConnect week, September 29 – October 3, except for the Monday Test Event dinner, the Wednesday Reception, and the Thursday Conference dinner will take place at the Higgins. Full information about the conference may be found at CalConnect XXXI including the week’s schedules, registration, and logistics information.

Bedford is about 50 miles north of London; we recommend European travelers who arrive by air to arrive at Luton Airport (north of London) as it is nearest. Travelers from further away will probably arrive at London Heathrow or London Gatwick. Information on getting from the airports to Bedford is available via the CalConnect XXXI page.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, September 29 – October 1, will be our Interoperability Test Event, ending with lunch on Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon (beginning with lunch), Thursday, and Friday, October 1-3, will be the Calconnect Conference which will include workshops, and technical committee sessions: briefings on what the CalConnect technical committees are doing, and discussions of problems, alternatives, and participation in the work of the Technical Committees.

Registration and Fees

You must register separately for the Interoperability Test Event and the CalConnect Conference. Please see Registration and Fees for more information and registration forms.

Special Registration Fee for This Event: $600 USD per person for first-time non-members to cover both the Interoperability Test Event and the CalConnect Conference.

We encourage you to register as soon as possible. Upon registration you will be invoiced for the amount due. However, you may choose to pay later, including at the event, if it is more convenient.

Conference Hotel

Our conference hotel is The Bedford Swan Hotel, The Embankment, Bedford. You may book the hotel directly from its website. There is no fixed rate and the rates will probably rise as we get closer to the event, so we recommend booking as soon as you know your travel plans. A list of alternative accommodations is linked from the CalConnect XXXI web page, should the Swan not be available or you prefer different arrangements.

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Who and What is CalConnect?

We are a collaboration between calendaring and scheduling vendors and users, established to further interoperability between calendaring and scheduling implementations, and work towards this purpose by driving the evolution of calendaring and scheduling standards through technical committee work, holding regular interoperability testing events, and hosting regular conferences, workshops and symposia focused on calendaring and scheduling. See our current member list at CalConnect Members. Learn more about CalConnect at our website and our blog. Find out about our previous events from our Event Reports and from posts on our blog. You can find out more about membership in CalConnect at CalConnect Membership.

What is CalConnect currently focused on?

You may find brief descriptions of the current work items of our Technical Committees at Current Work.

Questions and Feedback:

Please contact us at contact@calconnect.org with questions or feedback.

In particular, if you are interested in the Interoperability Test event and would like to suggest specific areas of testing, or potential participants, we want to know. If you have specific areas of interest or topics which you would like to see addressed in the workshops and symposia, please let us know about that as well! Also, feel free to send this e-mail on to others who you feel might be interested, or contact us and ask us to invite them as well.

You are also welcome to contact me directly with questions and suggestions.

Please join us in Bedford!

Dave Thewlis
Executive Director
The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium

——————–

More Information:

More information about the test event, the technical conference, and the workshops may be found below. The schedule for the week may be viewed at CalConnect XXXI Schedule (at this early date the schedule is an outline; we have not yet assigned time slots to specific sessions. This should happen in the next few weeks.) The entire set of logistics information, including travel, hotel booking, schedule, and as we get closer to the event, topical agendas and final topics for the workshops and symposia, may be viewed at CalConnect XXXI.

Interoperability Testing

The Interoperability Testing will take place Monday and Tuesday, September 29-30, plus Wednesday morning October 1st. Our interoperability test events offer those with calendaring implementations a chance to test against others one-on-one; the event is structured to allow “testing pairs” where you will get a chance to test with everyone in the course of event.

The exact testing scenarios will be decided based on who is coming and what (and with whom) they want to test. As of today we will definitely plan to test at least the following areas:

  • jCal (The JSON format for iCalendar)
  • RSCALE (Non-Gregorian Calendar Recurrences)
  • Calendar sharing
  • VPOLL Support in clients and servers
  • Scheduling
  • VAVAILABILITY
  • CalDAV
  • iCalendar/iMIP/iTIP and iMIP gateways
  • iSchedule
  • CardDAV
  • Timezone Service Protocol
  • Managed Attachments
  • VAVAILABILITY
  • If there is interest, synchronization testing for mobile clients in general
  • Informal workshop on the CalDAV Tester Test Suite

Please see CalConnect XXXI Interoperability Test Event for more information.


Technical Workshops and Symposia

Thursday and Friday mornings will be dedicated to workshops and symposia, which are included in the Conference Registration. The specific events are in the early planning stages; the CalConnect XXXI Schedule will reflect more detail as soon as we have it.

CalConnect Conference

At each CalConnect event, the Conference offers an opportunity for each of the CalConnect Technical Committees and Provisional Committees to present its work, invite suggestions, and conduct open discussions with the attendees on issues or topics under deliberation in the committee. In order to facilitate people in North America joining the Roundtable portion of the week’s events, the Conference sessions will be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. The Conference covers (at least)

  • Opening and introduction to CalConnect
  • Report from the Interoperability Test Event
  • Technical Committee sessions for all CalConnect TCs and PCs
  • Opportunities for BOFs (“birds of a feather” discussions)
  • Final wrapup and summary of all sessions
  • New initiatives
  • CalConnect Plenary Session

The conference will conclude no later than 18:00 on Friday, October 3rd.

In addition to the formal agenda there will be plenty of opportunity for networking and informal discussions with the leading experts in Calendaring and Scheduling applications, systems, and specifications.

Social Events

There will be a dinner for all Interoperability Test Event participants on Monday Evening, a Reception on Wednesday evening for all participants in either the Test Event and/or the Conference, and a dinner for all Conference participants on Thursday evening. The social events are included in your registration fee.

Meals

Your registration to the Interoperability Test Event or the Conference includes lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments for the period of the event, plus the reception Wednesday evening. In addition, registration to the test event includes the Monday evening IOP test event dinner, and registration to the technical conference includes the Thursday evening Conference. Please note that breakfast is not included as it is generally included with your hotel package.

Observations from CalConnect XXX in Dulles, Virginia

CalConnect held its thirtieth Interoperability Test Event and Conference (formerly “Roundtable”) the week of May 19-23, hosted by AOL at their facility in Dulles, Virginia.

The week led off with the Interoperability test Event on Monday, which had 12 participants from 9 organizations onsite. On Wednesday afternoon, the Conference opened with a very productive workshop about calendaring & scheduling in health care, which included 21 participants from 8 non-member organizations in addition to the regular conference attendees.

We are very excited about the interest in the conference, and about the growing intersection between calendaring and scheduling (especially the scheduling part) and the health care sector. A brief report on the workshop and links to the presentations may be found at VA Scheduling System Workshop Report.

Here’s what’s trending from CalConnect XXX:

Trending – Membership

In the weeks immediately following CalConnect XXX, two organizations which had attended the event became members of CalConnect:

  • 1&1 Internet AG, based in Montbaur, Germany, attended as an observer. 1&1 offers internet and portal services to customers in Europe and elsewhere. 1&1 is a member of United Internet.
  • MedRed LLC, based in Washington, DC, participated in the Health Care Scheduling Workshop at the invitation of CalConnect. MedRed led the winning proposal for the Veterans Administration Scheduling System Challenge. MedRed also registered as observers for the rest of the conference.

It is always very gratifying for any organization to pick up new members, but it is especially so for us when organizations choose to join after interacting with our membership, and experiencing what CalConnect has to offer.

Trending – Technical Committees (TC’s) and Provisional Committees (PC’s)

  • TC FREEBUSY provided a live demo of VPOLL (consensus scheduling) interoperability across three different implementations each on its own server via iSCHEDULE (server-server scheduling).
  • The CONTACTS (Contacts Sharing) Provisional Committee will begin the transformation into a Technical Committee; the Committee provided a live demo of existing contacts sharing implementations.
  • The FSC (Federated Shared Calendars) Ad Hoc (Provisional) Committee will begin the transformation into a Technical Committee.

Trending – Interoperability testing

The interoperability testing was very successful, with 12 participants from 9 organizations, plus two remote participants. In addition to the regular interoperability testing, the live demo (mentioned previously) was developed and tested. A more detailed accounting of the interoperability testing is available at CalConnect Interoperability Test Event Reports.

Trending – Documents, Specifcations and Standards

Much of the work in CalConnect is focused on specifications to be submitted as internet drafts to the IETF with the goal of helping progressing them to become RFCs (Proposed Standards); other work is published directly by CalConnect itself or submitted to other standards organizations.

Recently published CalConnect documents:

Recently updated internet drafts and published RFCs:

Trending – Organizationally

Mimi Mugler of the University of California, Berkeley, was the fourth recipient of the CalConnect Distinguished Service Award. Ms. Mugler has represented the University of California at CalConnect since 2007. She has been active in Technical Committees, strongly representing the needs and perspectives of the user community, and has twice been Chair of the Steering Committee.

Following the success of the Workshop, CalConnect plans to begin determining what is needed in existing C&S specifications, or in new specifications, to better meet the scheduling needs of health care today and in the future. We look forward to participation from the health care sector in this endeavor, both in terms of resources and the necessary expertise in the area.

Wrapping it all together

We are very excited, as were observers at the event, with the live demonstration by TC FREEBUSY of multiple servers interconnected by iSCHEDULE and doing live consensus scheduling via VPOLL, as it shows a tangible result of the work going on in our Technical Committees to extend the calendaring and scheduling standards to provide new and relevant capabilities, both within the mainstream of human calendaring, and in more general applications of scheduling in areas such as health care and logistics management.

CalConnect wishes to again thank AOL for helping to make CalConnect XXX such a productive and enjoyable week, and to the organizations who presented at the Workshop or participated in the Panel Discussion. AOL did an outstanding job with event logistics, including adapting to a rapidly growing attendance in the last several days prior to the event (49 people from 29 organizations attended some part of the week, a very successful turnout for an East Coast CalConnect event), but perhaps more importantly, the genuine hospitality and cordiality by all members of the AOL staff made all the attendees feel very welcomed.

The next CalConnect event will take place September 29 – October 3, 2014 in England, hosted by youcanbook.me in Bedford. We’ll be posting more information about this event going forward, and we invite you to join us and learn more about what we are doing moving forward.

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