Information: The OfficeCalendar product will probably be cost prohibitive for most individuals. However, many small businesses may opt to use this solution which allows a Microsoft Exchange like experience while sharing multiple office staff calendars on their Android devices. I give an example of how OfficeCalendar may work well for many small businesses below.
OfficeCalendar is software made by Lookout Software that allows users to share each other's Outlook data throughout a small office network (or even remote offices through the internet) without the use of Exchange. They also make an app that will sync shared Outlook calendars with an Android device, which is available when the Mobile Server License is also purchased.
The OfficeCalendar product has been around for many years and is very dependable. I've used it with a client of mine and it worked well. It operates with Outlook versions 2000 through 2013 and will sync calendars and contacts with an Android device. OfficeCalendar can be installed with Outlook as its already running in the office. There is no need for great technical experience to install and configure this product, like there is to configure an Exchange server or Office 365. Help is available from their US based tech support through trouble tickets or telephone, even for installation which may take as little as 20 minutes.
The sync with the Android works as follows. The Outlook data is synced and stored on OfficeCalendar Online servers. The Android device then syncs the main contacts folder and selected calendars with OfficeCalendar Online through either Wi-Fi or a wireless connection. In this way, OfficeCalendar Online serves as the conduit between Outlook and the Android. All data is transferred with 128 bit SSL encryption. The OfficeCalendar Online server may also be accessed through a web browser, which shows an Outlook like display that accesses the Calendars, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes. All changes through this OfficeCalendar Online web portal are synced to both Outlook and the Android.
OfficeCalendar allows Outlook users to share and access other user's folders that are shared. This may include shared calendars, contacts, tasks, notes, and email. Public Resource folders may also be created and shared with everyone. For instance, a Conference Room Calendar or Vacation Calendar may be created as a shared Resource Folder and shared with everyone or selected people. These Resource calendar folders may also be synced to the Android.
Here is an example of how OfficeCalendar would be an excellent solution for a business. John and Mike are businessmen who need to work with and be aware of each other's schedules. Mary is their secretary and needs to keep their schedules booked, but not double booked. All 3 have Outlook and OfficeCalendar installed. All 3 share each other's calendars. All 3 have the OfficeCalendar app on their smartphones (John and Mike on their Androids and Mary on her iPhone). John schedule's his daughter's daytime recital on his phone when he finds out about it during their family dinner. Mike schedules a meeting with John and a potential new client he just met while playing golf on the weekend. Mary schedules appointments all day at the office in Outlook. At home she also enters her family schedule into her iPhone, which includes setting up her vacation time in the Vacation calendar, which is a Resource calendar folder shared by everyone. When necessary, each person checks the other's schedules to be sure there are no conflicts before making an appointment. All the appointments are automatically pushed to Outlook and each other's phones assuring that they won't accidentally double book their time. When John and Mike are away from the office, they also log into the OfficeCalendar web portal and see a display that looks like Outlook where they can access their Tasks, Notes, Calendars, and Contacts, including the public Resource Vacation calendar and shared folders for each other.
I have found one thing that may present difficulty for people installing the OfficeCalendar app. The app is not available in the Google Play store. It must be downloaded and installed by going to the OfficeCalendar website. Most Androids are protected from installing apps outside the Play store and a setting must be changed to allow the installation. There is nothing wrong with this - it just presents a technical hurdle for someone to pass.
Pricing for OfficeCalendar is a little complex. If you are new to OfficeCalendar, there is a one time cost $99.95 for each copy of the desktop OfficeCalendar software plus $27 per year for each copy of the required "Premium Maintenance and Upgrade Protection" plan, for a total starting cost of $126.95 for each copy of Outlook you are supporting in your office. The Mobile Server License necessary to sync OfficeCalendar to the Android device is free for the first year, but when the free limited time promotion expires it will cost an extra $29.99 per year. That means from the second year forward, each copy of OfficeCalendar will cost $56.99 per year. That price does include dedicated tech support and free upgrades for the products.
I have considered why a business would use OfficeCalendar instead of Exchange. I am a big proponent of Exchange, but have considered the following. First, the technical experience required to install OfficeCalendar is much less and it works with Outlook as it is running in the office right now. This not only means ease of installation, but the up front cost will be lower. It may take me 4 hours to move 2 people from using Outlook as it stands now to using Exchange Online with Office 365 (this includes researching and gaining access to the domain name or creating one, setting up the transfer of control of the email to Exchange Online, creating new email accounts and configuring them, copying all Outlook data to Exchange Online, removing the old account, and setting up smartphones). Consider how much you pay your tech support and OfficeCalendar may be a good financial decision. Second, you can see all shared calendars and public Resource folders on your Android. Using Exchange on your Android only allows you to see the one main calendar.
If you think OfficeCalendar may provide the solution you are looking for, you may visit their website by clicking on the link below.