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Idea - Conference Room Scheduling 2.0

I have an idea to make conference room scheduling easier. I know similar hardware based ideas exist (such as this), but I don't think anything quite like my idea available. It goes like this.

The outside of each conference room would have a posted QR barcode. The QR code would contain static information about the room such as the room name/id, location, etc.

Using a smartphone or tablet with QR barcode scanning capability (iPhone, iPad 2, Android, etc.), an individual could walk up to the room and scan the code. The code would prompt the device to forward the necessary room information to an internally hosted site. The site would be designed to accommodate mobile use and appear as a native application for the given device. It would be fully integrated with the back-end scheduling system (Google Calendar, Exchange, etc.). The user would be presented with the following options:

- View topic of active meeting (if not marked as private)
- View active meeting attendees (if not marked as private)
- View room schedule for day, with open spots available with button to reserve.
- Book a room on-the-spot simply by clicking a spot that is available
- Invite others to join your meeting (using contacts on device or LDAP to look up in company directory)
- Provide link to the closest room that is currently available and offer to reserve if acceptable.
- Show floor map of meeting rooms with current location highlighted, and some indication of the rooms that are currently available (or available soon) within a 100ft radius.
- If the person scanning the code is also the meeting organizer, they will be presented with options to update, cancel, or send out reminders to others attending.
- etc...Features could go on and on

Benefits of this idea:
- Users don't need to go through the tedious process of pulling up a scheduling program, searching for a room, booking it, finding another room available, etc.
- Users can still schedule rooms from their PCs as usual, but now have the added benefit of scheduling a near-by room on the fly
- Nearly everyone in a technology workplace has a smartphone these days with QR code scanning capability
- No hardware to hang outside meeting doors such as done with other similar systems
- Most if not all functionality would be managed by the back-end system, allowing maximum flexibility in providing updates and maintenance of the system

Thoughts? Worth developing?

- John (http://manganlabs.com)

siliconghost (author) 5 years ago
Hey Lemonie, thanks for the feedback!

I'm not recommending that this replace the existing desktop scheduling client. It is to be used in addition to whatever is in place. My experience has been in a relatively large office environment using MS Outlook/Exchange to schedule rooms as "resources". Our meeting rooms can be near-by, several floors up or down, or across the other building a good distance away. I've seen numerous cases where:
  • People take rooms without scheduling them, simply because they don't have time to go back to their desks, look up the room and schedule a meeting.  They then wait to see if they might get kicked out because they are conflicting with the next scheduled meeting. (Solution - check availability and schedule the room on-the-spot)
  • A meeting is canceled within minutes of it starting, but the organizer didn't have a computer with them and couldn't send out a notice. (Solution - cancel the meeting on-the-spot)
  • The meeting location has to be moved at the last minute, or the tcon number changes or has been added.  Again, in this situation it may be difficult for the organizer to quickly get word out to all attendees. (Solution - send a meeting update on-the-spot, find a nearby available room and book it)
  • People forget the names of conference rooms, so they don't know where the room physically exists. Especially when it is one that is not near-by.  In this same regard, people don't remember a meeting room name when trying to reserve it in Outlook.  Again, this probably only occurs in a large corporate environment. (Solution - The app could be used by meeting attendees to show where the room is on a map. This functionality could also be viewed from a desktop browser)
  • People want to meet ad-hoc and continue a hallway conversation in private, yet all non-reservable rooms are taken.  They don't want to disrupt the flow and momentum of their conversation by going back to a desk to schedule a room. If they do, it often means 10 minutes delay just to get the room schedule. (Solution - Check room availability and schedule the meeting on-the-spot)
  • You urgently need to talk with Jane Doe and have a hunch she might be in a certain meeting.  You don't want to disrupt the meeting if it is very important.  (Solution - Check the meeting attendees without opening the door AND the topic of the meeting to make a call on whether or not it is OK to disrupt)
Those are some of the common problems I'm trying to solve.  Some of the  features are just added benefits, or "icing on the cake" such as the ability to see who is in a conference room and what the topic is.

I'm not saying that I'm planning to develop this solution.  I have a backlog of projects already on my plate.  I'm just trying to get the solution somewhat defined in case I ever get the urge to act on it. If anyone else wants to take this on then by all means, please do so!

- John

Good response, something to think about.

People take rooms without scheduling them
-They'll probably do that anyway if they've got as far as the door and found it empty.
A meeting is canceled within minutes of it starting
-A person still has to go through the process of un-booking the room instead of just walking away.
The meeting location has to be moved at the last minute
-like leaving a notice on the door, best use so far.
People forget the names of conference rooms, so they don't know where the room physically exists.
-having a q-code on the wall won't help there.
People want to meet ad-hoc
-You still don't need a q-code to start up your scheduler. And this is the main thing - all the q-code really serves to do is open the scheduler on a specific location.
The mobile-scheduler is a good idea, I don't see a lot of value in the q-codes.

L
lemonie5 years ago

Consider this: - Users don't need to go through the tedious process of pulling up a scheduling program, searching for a room, booking it, finding another room available, etc.

The q-code scan is a tedious process of pulling up a scheduling program, searching for a room, booking it, finding another room available, etc. You could do that sat at your desk, or anywhere else with your mobile.

You're not suggesting that people walk the building scanning codes until they find a room, so why start the scheduler by scanning any of them?

L