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 Ionic, UWP, SAP UI5 and SWIFT as 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.