Ras : Making Outlook dance to your tune
Many people are used to devices that fill in their diaries, but this is the first time we have seen one on a public website.
Ras is a major Italian insurance and financial services company. It has a high quality corporate website with several unusual features. One of these is in the About Us section, where a link leads to a Calendar page.
This week Ras’ third quarter results meeting, on 9 November, is listed. Links on the page try to ensure that analysts and others really do remember the meeting. They can set up an e-mail alert, book to take part online and “Download to Outlook” (“Salva in Calendario Outlook”). Clicking this link automatically puts the meeting onto the Microsoft Outlook calendar system, with the alarm set to go off 15 minutes before the meeting is due to start.
Many people are used to devices that fill in their diaries, but this is the first time we have seen one on a public website. A brief test suggests if functions properly on rather limited combinations of software (in essence Microsoft Explorer plus Outlook), but when it works it works well. Website users are accustomed to e-mail software springing to life when they click a ‘mail’ link, so there should be no surprise that the same software can be used to do more than send a message.
It is interesting that this idea comes from Italy, a latecomer to the web and a country still bursting with new ideas about what to do with it. The question now is, if Outlook can be made to do this, what other uses can it be put to from a website? And for that matter, what else can we make other pieces of common software do?http://www.ras.it
First published on 21 October, 2004