WEBINAR: BookIT-Room Scheduling Solution
Webinar Transcripts | April 20, 2017
I'm Chris Poulin, Vice President of Technology at BTX Technologies, and I'm going to take you through BookIT Room Scheduling Solution. We'll talk about what BookIT, the features and benefits, the settings that you can control, and the centralized management. We'll talk a little bit about installation, and then we'll show you some selling tools that'll be available to you through bookit.tech and our marketing department, and we'll show you some of the list pricing.
As mentioned, BookIT is a simple multi-platform room scheduling solution. It's very affordable, less expensive than most other solutions out in the field. It integrates directly with Microsoft Exchange, that's pretty much any flavor of it, so it can be an on-premise Exchange Server, a hosted Exchange Server, you know, like with GoDaddy or AppRiver if you use host Exchange, Office 365 and Google G Suite, which used to be known as Google Apps for Work. So this is the paid version, which has resource mailboxes available to it. The free version does not have that.
And when you book meetings, the meetings are going to show up on the display, and it's going to show up on your personal calendar, and I'll get into that a little bit more about why that's important as we move on. When you purchase a BookIT System, you get our 7-inch POE touch panel with wide-angle viewing, a surface mount bracket, the BookIT software and an international power adapter in the event that you don't have POE available to the site.
So let's talk about some of the BookIT user screens. There's a very intuitive user interface, there's virtually no end-user training required. If you know how to log into a web page and create a meeting in your own calendar, you're going to be able to do this without any training for the end users. You can schedule at the BookIT display if you like, or as most people do, book from your computer or your mobile device.
The installation is very easy, it's a single cable POE installation, so you get your network and your power from the same cable. Integration is very simple for integrators and system admins alike. Nothing here is going to be strange to the mail administrators that are going to prepare Microsoft Exchange or Google G Suite for the installation.
You can manage the settings for BookIT centrally. As soon as you purchase a BookIT system, you'll automatically be enrolled into our BookIT Device Management Portal, and from there, you can manage all the settings on all of the devices at once, singly or some at a time if you like. We do offer a tech support alert right from the screen, so if something's wrong in the room, you can send a predefined message to your helpdesk. And the list price of BookIT is $1299 U.S.
So, room status can be seen at a glance. We've created the entire UI to be the room status indicator. Looking at the screen, you'll see the background is green, that's going to let you know that the meeting room is available for use. If a meeting is about to begin, and with whatever configurable time you set it up with, it's going to turn yellow. And if the room is in session, it's going to show you a red background. And these are very easy to see from anywhere, from far away, you know, we actually happen to have a conference room with a BookIT sign on it, that's in a hallway, that's about 75 feet long. And even though you can't read the sign from the other side of the hallway, you always know the status of the room just by looking at it.
We do require, at this time, that you authenticate when you log into the BookIT System, and that's an important factor. With ad-hoc booking systems, anybody can come along to that screen and do something to your meeting. They'd be able to go and delete your meeting, extend your meeting, for example. But when you log in, it's going to put that appointment on your own calendar in Exchange or in Google, so nobody can do anything with it unless they have your credentials to log in.
You can book meetings from the sign at the assigned room if you like, and that's just by pressing the "ADD" button icon on the screen. You could book meetings in other rooms, so if the time slot that you want is not available in the room where the sign is located, you can go and book another room if you like.
We do have a meeting Check In button, this meeting Check In button works in concert with an auto-release button, and this is configurable, and you could turn it on and off, and you can configure when the Check In button shows up and when the auto release occurs. If you have this activated and you don't press the Check In button, the auto-release time, there's a window after the start of the meeting, which can be configured from 5 to 30 minutes in five-minute increments.
So let's say you set it for five minutes after the meeting start, if no one checks in to the room, the room is going to automatically release. Now we call that internally, at least, an admin release, because what it does is it releases the room just from the room calendar. The organizers' calendars can remain intact. Just because you didn't make it to the meeting room, doesn't mean the meeting isn't happening somewhere else or in someone's office.
You can extend meetings from the display, and of course, you can do that from your mobile device or your computer. You can release the meeting, so this is a little bit different from the auto-release. If you go and actively release the meeting, it's going to alter the end time of the organizer's calendar and the room calendar, and makes the room available for booking for someone else.
And you could delete active meetings, so, and all of these things that I'm showing you here are for active meetings. You can't alter a meeting that isn't active. So if there's a meeting in the future, you would have to go and alter it from your calendar on your PC or your mobile device. But when you delete a meeting, that actually deletes the appointment from all calendars, so the organizer's calendar will get deleted and the room calendar will get deleted. And depending upon how you have your mail system set up, notifications and cancellation events will be sent out via email.
When you press the calendar screen, you can actually see a detailed view. On the right-hand side, you'll see a list of meetings that are happening in that room, and you can go and look for your time slot. This is a scrollable pane, where you can go and look all the way out into the future, or you can just click a date if you wanted to, you can click on the 20th, and it would take the meetings from the 20th and move them all the way up to the top. In that way, you can find the slot that you want, the time slot that you want. If you find the time slot that you want, you could just click the Add Event button up in the upper right corner and go through the booking process.
We currently offer BookIT in French, Spanish, and English, and more languages are on the way as those markets develop. Now we're gonna talk a little bit about the Room Account Settings, and what you need to do to set BookIT up.
In Microsoft Exchange or Office 365, you need Exchange 2010 SP2 or later. Exchange Web Services must be set up. Now with Exchange 2013 and above, Exchange Web Services is pretty much always in effect, because the management of Exchange 2013 and up is all done in a web-based portal, so that shouldn't be an issue. But in Exchange 2010, you didn't necessarily have to have web services up and running.
You do need to create room mailboxes, you do need to create room lists, and you do need to have an account with full access permissions to the resource mailboxes. And then the users that you want to be able to book from the sign need to have author permissions to that room.
The requirements for Google G Suite are very similar. You need to create resource calendars, you need to have an account with full access to the resource calendar, you need to share that calendar, and you need to give users permission to use that calendar, and there's one thing that I don't have on here. And the users need to subscribe to the calendar so they can see it from where they are. When they go and create a meeting, a list of rooms will appear on the right-hand side of the UI in Google Calendar.
You do need internet access for certain things. When you activate the license, you must be connected to the internet, because it talks to our license portal. To update BookIT, which is done through our BookIT Device Management Portal, you need to be connected to the Internet. If you change settings on BookIT, so if you change the upcoming meeting warning or something like that, it is going to want to go and synchronize those settings changes to the BookIT Device Management Portal.
Of course, when you're using a Hosted Exchange, or Office 365 or Google G Suite, you must be connected to the internet, because those are cloud applications, and whenever you use the BookIT Device Management Portal to change things on your device. If you have an on-premise Exchange server, you can...once you set everything up, you know, once you've activated the license and you've gone and gotten the settings set to where you like them, it will operate without access to the internet as long as you have network access to the server.
So calendar flow and policies are pretty much the same as what they are in the backend systems that you're using. We are connecting through the web APIs of these systems, so we don't do anything as far as setting policy. So the booking hours that are available is done through Exchange or Google, recurring meetings whether you allow them or not, look ahead booking days, you know, that's all controlled by the backend system, you know, for instance Exchange defaults to 180 days, so if you haven't changed that default and you try to book something more than six months out, it's not going to allow you to do it, it's going to decline your request. And conflict resolution, of course, is handled by the backend system.
Room scheduling management, with Google G Suite, it's pretty much automated-only. There's not really a multi-tier system, but with Exchange, you could use the automated attendant, or you can use a delegate. So there are a lot of companies that do this now, where they have a delegate that has the final say on who books the room or not. Or, you could do a hybrid of both. Let the automated attendant accept the meetings if they're in policy, but a delegate will be able to override that. So, you know, if the financial manager books the boardroom, but the CEO wants that boardroom, they might tell the financial manager that they can't have the room and give it to the CEO.
You do have to activate BookIT and agree to the end-user license agreement. These are instances where you actually need to interface with a device itself, so license activation happens right on the device itself, so you need to type in that license key and check the checkbox for the end-user license agreement and then register it. There is a USB port on the back, so if you don't wanna use the on-screen keyboard, you could just plug a wireless keyboard mouse dongle into the back. As long as it doesn't need drivers and has HID, standard HID drivers, that might make your task a little bit easier with that.
And then you get into the Room Account Settings. So you really can't go any further until you've selected a back-end system and then configured it. With Exchange, once you've done all the things that we talked about earlier, creating room mailboxes and room lists and a user with full access permissions and giving users author permissions, all you really need to do is add these few pieces of information, which is the domain, the email address and the password of the user with full access permissions, the email address of the actual room itself, and then the path to Exchange Web Services. We give you an example down here at the bottom. It pretty much always ends with EWS, for Exchange Web Services, and then exchange.asmx.
With Google, it's a little bit different. You're going to go and do all the things you need to do in your Google Calendar in G Suite, and you're going to go into the Android system, so you're actually going to close BookIT, and you're going to go into the Android system and add the account that has full access permissions to the room as a regular Google user. Once you've done that, you can fire BookIT back up, and this dropdown here will see that account and you can select it. And once you select that account, it'll come up with a list of all the rooms that are tied to that account. And once you select it, you just click LOGIN, and you're done, you're off and running. Very, very easy to implement.
So there's a bunch of different settings that you can control to make your user experience more useful to you, and we're going to go through those now. When you go into the settings section, it does give you your license key as an information-only area, you know, we'll sometimes need that. Tells you what the version is up at the top.
You could set a master password here, and this is kind of important. Down here in the bottom, you'll see that Settings button. If you don't put a password in there, that means anyone would be able to go in and get to this screen, and then close the application and get into the underlying Android OS, and that's something you don't want to do. So I highly recommend setting a master password, and that'll prevent a casual user from getting into the settings or even closing BookIT. You actually have to go in here to close BookIT, because when you launch it, it's going to ask you to select it as the home app, so BookIT will become the launcher app, and you can't turn it off unless you go into the settings area and close the application.
Language selection is set here. Actually, when you first launch BookIT, before you even enter the activation key, it is going to ask you for the language that you want, and you'll set it there, but if you wanna change it at another time, you can come back into the BookIT settings area and change it there.
You could change the date format and the time format. So we allow you to have a 12-hour clock or a 24-hour clock if you like, and you could change the date format. In the United States, we use month/day/year. Most other places in the world use day/month/year, and then there's the ISO format, which is year/month/day, and you can change those in here.
You can change the upcoming meeting warning as well. So this is what controls when the screen turns yellow to let you know that a meeting is about to begin. You could turn this on or off, if you don't want to use it you can turn it off, and you can configure that time from 5 to 30 minutes in 5-minute increments, and that tells you the time window before the meeting start time that the screen is going to turn yellow. You can see in this screenshot that we have it set for 10 minutes, so 10 minutes before the meeting begins, that screen is going to turn yellow. So even if there's an active meeting in that room, the screen is going to turn yellow to let you know that something's coming up.
And this is the Check-In/Auto-Release that we were talking about. Note that you can enable this or disable this if you like. And there are two time windows that you can configure. The first time window is the Check-In before the event start time, so you can set that again from 5 to 30 minutes in 5-minute increments.
So it's possible that you could have a meeting in the upcoming meeting area of the UI, and have the Check-In button there. And by the way, I didn't mention before that you don't have to log in to check in. Any person can check in to the meeting. I'm sure you've all experienced waiting for a conference room to free up from the meeting that's happening right now, and there's a bunch of people congregating out in the hallway, waiting to go in for the next meeting. So while you're waiting out there, you folks can check in to that meeting.
The second time window is the Auto-Release, and that's after the event start time. So as we have it set now, if someone didn't press that Check-In button within five minutes after the meeting start time, the room's going to automatically release and make it available for other people to book.
In addition to that, we give you the ability to completely disable booking from the sign altogether. If you do this, then the only way you can actually book meetings in those rooms would be from your computer or your mobile device. Some places like this like flexible office spaces where they want to have complete control over the bookings in the room.
You could change the logo. So down in the bottom right-hand corner where you see that BookIT logo, you can change that to your corporate logo. It's a little hard to do from the device itself, because you have to plug a USB key in the back. This is much easier to do from the portal, which I'll show you in a few minutes, where you have access to all your drives and folders and things like that. But that could be changed to customize it for yourself.
And then we also give a choice of six different backgrounds that you can choose from. We don't give you the ability to change the theme of the of the UI, because the UI is your meeting status. So it's still always going to be green, yellow and red, but you could change the backgrounds. And we've created these backgrounds with high readability in mind, to make sure that everything can be read easily on the screen.
And this is where you configure your predefined support message. So you're going go and put a "To:" email address, that might be your help desk distribution group and a subject and a predefined message, and the phone number and extension of the room. It automatically grabs the name of the room and puts it in there, and then the Send From Account, you know, we are using our user that has full access permissions to the room, it's just a service account that we use. And when you're ready to use that, all you would do would go to the Support button on the bottom, press it once, and then press Send when the screen changes, and off it goes to your help desk folks.
The BookIT Device Management Portal. I have two screens here, I'm actually going to go and I'm going to go into the portal itself. When you log on, just because it's hard to see in the screenshot on the PowerPoint, but you have the ability to come in here and manage all of your devices. It tells you what the latest update is, you can get release notes on that update, you can go and put a user-defined designation in here, you know, so for instance I put all our New York conference rooms down there and so on, you can sort these, you can filter these if you like. So if I wanted to get all the New York rooms, I could just go and look at my New York rooms if I like. You could also go in here and tell it to auto-update.
So if you select that, every 24 hours from the last time BookIT was launched, it's going to go and search for an update. And if it finds an update, it's going to go download it and apply it. That whole process takes about 30 seconds. Download, install, reboot the device, all takes about 30 seconds to be done. But some people don't necessarily like that, because if the last time they rebooted BookIT was 10:30 in the morning, they don't want the device to go and interrupt itself in the middle of a business day.
So if you wanted to do it another way, you could actually go and select it, and then just come down here and click the Update button, and it's going to go and automatically check for updates and do the same thing, but at a time that you want to do it. You should all know that we're...on our road map is an item where you're going to be able to schedule this, so you can schedule this to happen in the middle of the night, in the middle of, you know, thread the needle between your backup windows and things like that.
From here, you can also, of course, reset your password. The portal is available in English, French and Spanish right now. And this is where you could also go and change the settings. So if I go and I select the settings of my emulator, which I actually have running, and click the Edit button, you're going to see that we go into a page that has all of the similar settings that you have that we just went through. So this is where you can go and change your master password if you want, you can set your upcoming meeting warning, check-in and auto-release time, disable bookings, language, dates and time formats, logo, all the things that we talked about, you can do from here.
If you select a single unit, it's going to go and grab the information, you know, remember I told you before when you make settings changes, you need to be connected to the internet, it synchronizes those changes to the portal. So if you select a single device, it's going to go and show you the settings that are actually on that device. If you select multiple devices, it's going go to all the defaults, so you need to be careful with that. So if you're selecting multiple devices to edit, once you go and apply those edits, it's going to go and overwrite anything that's on the screen right then and there.
Okay. Installation, as I mentioned, is very, very easy. It's a single cable POE installation. You get an international power adapter that comes with this in the event that you don't have POE available to you. So you could run it off of the power adapter and Wi-Fi if you liked. It includes a surface mount bracket, and we have a recessed mount kit, which is a set of brackets that will work with the included bracket, so that you can flush mount the device, and a mullion mount for glass installation. So this doesn't actually mount directly to the glass, but will mount to the glass mullion that's holding the glass, and you can very neatly run your cabling through the glass mullion.
You can get additional information at www.bookit.tech. We have brochures, manuals and videos available there. If you have a greater interest and you want a deeper look at this, we can do individualized web training. We have the ability to run BookIT in an emulator so that I can show you around inside the app if you need it too.
BookIT is $1299 List US. That gets you the BookIT display and the room scheduling software, surface mount bracket, one year of software maintenance. The license is perpetual, but in order to get updates, bug fixes, feature enhancements and new features, you would need to continue to purchase software maintenance. We offer that in one and two-year packages. You can buy extra surface mount brackets if you wanted to, and of course, you can purchase the recessed mount bracket and the mullion mount bracket for glass mounting. The BookIT display comes with two years of hardware warranty.