Meet Q_ROOMS – The app for swift and straightforward booking of meeting rooms

Meet Q_ROOMS – The app for swift and straightforward booking of meeting rooms

The motivation behind Q_ROOMS

Booking conference rooms in Outlook is tedious and eats a lot of time. Actually, it’s just barely possible to make bookings, especially via smartphone. This created the wish for an app that not only provides visualization of available rooms but also offers the option of booking directly. And thus the idea for Q_ROOMS was born. Developing this kind of app additionally provided us with an opportunity to become familiar with and try out new technologies. Moreover, it has enabled us to make a practical tool available for Q_PERIOR staff.

When the project launched, the Munich office initiated a one-day hackathon followed by grilling on the terrace. The hackathon’s participants convened in various groups to review applications based on IonicUWPSAP UI5 and SWIFTas regards suitability for the Q_ROOMS project. At the end of the day, the decision was made to go with Ionic, which we’ve identified as the most apt platform for developing the app.

The technology

Using the Ionic framework enables us to accommodate both iOS and Android. Moreover, the wealth of interfaces and plug-ins allows for the seamless addition of further functionalities in the app. Microsoft Graph API is used for accessing the Office 365 calendar. Authentication here can take place via ADAL directly with the Active Directory user. With the Graph API native function “findMeetingTimes,” it is easy to call up room availability.

The development of Q_ROOMS

Based on the prototype from the hackathon, the app was further developed by several motivated employees. One particular challenge here was authentication. It wasn’t possible to fully apply the documentation and the examples from the library used on our infrastructure, which meant that several adjustments had to be made.

The Q_ROOMS user interface

One primary objective in developing Q_ROOMS was to render the app’s operation as simple and straightforward as possible so that a room booking can be performed with as few clicks as possible:

  • Click 1 – Open the app

    The home screen shows an overview of all rooms and their availability. In addition to room name, further information includes room capacity and the corresponding floor. Availability is sub-divided into 30-minute blocks. A date picker can be used to change the starting date and time of the availability overview.

  • Click 2 – Select the time desired of a free room

    Once a room has been chosen, the user taps on a time to move to the next view. Here, the length of the booking can be selected in 30-minute increments, depending on availability. Additionally, a meeting title can be assigned for the room’s meeting and/or booking.

  • Click 3 – Book the room

    Clicking on the “book” button first sends a query, as the room’s availability may have changed since opening the app. If success is confirmed, then the room is booked and a confirmation e-mail is automatically send to the user from Exchange.

The room overview (left) and room booking page (right) in the finalized app

Enhancement options

The app was officially launched in July 2017. In that time, there has been a constant stream of new ideas on how to expand and improve the app. Various teams are currently working on integration for building layouts, including navigation via iBeacons as well as display of occupancy display and parking garage availability. Further ideas are currently in the elaboration phase.

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