Automated Meeting Room Bookings Using the Internet of Things

Digitising the workplace won’t render talking to people in person in meetings or at conferences superfluous. Means quickly secure a calm spot, put your heads together and  off you go –at least that’s the theory. In real life, things oftentimes prove quite different. Despair not. The Internet of Things (IoT) makes allocating meeting rooms a piece of cake. It allows linking the room management system  of your time planning software to building services and/or smart service providers. Identifying and booking available rooms, setting a comfy room temperature, and making sure chronic latecomers get reminders in time are just some examples of  how smart office routines help you during the workday.

How the Internet of Things Makes Room Management Easier

Organising meetings and managing rooms means having to take care of a lot of details. Holding frequent meetings involving a large number of attendees makes automating the process a viable option. Connecting building services to the internet and using IoT-based services enables the automation of standard tasks normally carried out manually.

 

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Starting on time:

If email reminders don’t prevent attendees bursting into the room after the meeting already kicked off, room booking based on IoT routines provides alternative ways of action. For instance, contemporary IoT platforms interact with Smart Office features, forwarding meeting information to messengers such as Slack and WhatsApp which makes reminders much more effective.

 

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Automated access control:

Meeting rooms in high-occupancy buildings shouldn’t be accessible at all times. Instead of calling facility management to unlock the door, or issuing keys, smart locks allow you to automate access control. Means only verified attendees can enter the room within the booked time slot.

 

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Save money on utility bills: What’s the point of keeping lights and heating on in a room that’s currently empty and won’t be used in the near future? Hook up your room booking system to a set of motion detectors to switch off lights and turn down the heating automatically.

 

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Cooler heads prevail: On the other hand, overheated rooms during the winter, and insufficient cooling of rooms during the summer are equally bad for holding a productive meeting. Interconnecting heating and air conditioning to your room management software allows setting the proper room temperature beforehand.

 

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Housekeeping: Meeting rooms that require cleaning after a string of meetings need to be temporarily taken off the booking list. The easiest way to do so is using battery-powered wireless buttons that signal room occupancy. Pressing the button locks and flags the room as unavailable. After housekeeping has done the job, another press of the button puts the room back on the availability list.

Meeting Room Management Using Joan

It all boils down to a room management system that is up to scratch. One of them is called Joan, has been designed precisely for this purpose, and is among the latest devices and apps that come with Conrad Connect compatibility. Joan combines room booking software and digital signage, using displays that tell you whether meeting rooms are available, fitted where it matter most, namely right at the meeting room door. Joan is the brainchild of Visionect Technology, a company specialising in energy-saving displays centred around electronic paper. Our platform now supports a range of Joan digital door signage.

Joan room management supports all major time planning apps including Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar, as well as other common workplace applications such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams. Moreover, a Conrad Connect interface enables Joan to operate smart lighting, smart heating and smart door locks, with an increasing number of Joan-compatible ready-to-use IoT templates now being available on our platform. Here just some examples:

 

 

Traffic signal colours indicate room availability: Large open office layouts mean Joan displays fitted next to meeting room doors may not be easily visible. This Conrad Connect project indicates room availability from afar using smart colour light bulbs.  

 

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Traffic signal colours indicate whether meeting goes ahead: Everyone’s here except the one who called the meeting. Is it still on? No need to reach for your laptop or check out a phone app as smart light bulbs signal whether the person in charge has confirmed via Joan that the meeting will indeed  take place.

 

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Booking extension using a smart button: Meetings unexpectedly running overtime are not unheard of. If this happens, being forced to fiddle around with a laptop to extend the booking would interfere with the meeting flow. The solution: pressing a battery-powered wireless smart button to auto-extend the time slot. You choose how much time you want to add per press of the button beforehand by logging in to the settings.

 

No meeting? Heating and electricity are cut off automatically: No need to keep heating and equipment running if the room is empty. This template turns down the heating and uses smart mains plugs to switch off any electronic devices if the meeting doesn’t start within 15 minutes of the selected time slot. A motion detector ensures that the room doesn’t stay dark and cold if someone needs to use it outside the pre-booked slots.

Smart Room Management Using Google Calendar and Conrad Connect

Goes without saying that you can also automate booking procedures by interconnecting your smart devices with the Google Calendar room management tool.

Need to Be on It to Be in it

 

No more manual unlocking and locking meeting rooms. If you use Google Calendar together with smart locks, this project enables automating room access control. Only people who are on Google’s meeting attendee list are granted access. Moreover, automated heating makes sure room temperatures are comfy. Talking of which, this access control template ensures proper room air conditioning during the hot summer months.

Automated Room Booking

Why not let technology take care of room management so you don’t have to? This project marks rooms as being unavailable as soon as a motion detector picks up activity, with Conrad Connect making the according Google Calendar entry. Moreover, motion detectors switch the air con off after everyone left, to avoid wasting energy by cooling down rooms that are not being used.

Choose Ready-to-use Templates or Create Your Own Projects

Importing ready-to-use templates into your Conrad Connect account allows you to get smart room management setups quickly off the ground. Goes without saying that these projects aren’t written in stone, with all of them able to be modified to accommodate devices and brands other than those used in the template.

 Alternatively, come up with business projects tailored to fit your needs using your own smart office setups. Our project editor makes interconnecting all sorts of smart devices pretty straightforward.  If you only want to use two smart devices or services, use our simplified editor. This version of the editor has been especially designed for smartphones. However, if you are thinking about more complex automation scenarios, there is our advanced editor which makes putting together projects involving multiple smart devices and services really easy.

 

Want to simplify your room management? Why not use one of the above Conrad Connect IoT projects to try things out?

Have fun!