How often have you or your users tried to find rooms that are free for your meeting time, your recurring series, that have the capacity and resources you need, and are close to you? Probably enough to acknowledge it can be a bit time consuming, especially if you are creating a recurring event or trying to book multiple rooms in different cities. To help you with this, we are releasing features that make it easier to find and identify the room you need. We also have new features to help you manage your meetings!
Let’s focus first on what the user experience looks like, then we’ll get into how you set this up behind the scenes.
Sometimes you need to find rooms with specific characteristics, and with this new feature you can now search for rooms beyond from the ones we show you. Just click on the location bar, and then go to “Browse more rooms”, this opens a right-side panel where you can search for a room by building and city.
Sometimes you need a room with specific features. Now, when you are looking for a room with capabilities or trying to accommodate a group of people, you can filter for rooms based on capacity, features, and floor.
Creating a recurring series already demands a lot of coordination. Outlook has resources to help you with that, the Scheduling Assistant, FindTime, and smart time suggestions. They all help you find a free time slot among your attendees but finding a room that could be booked for the entire recurring series was a little more hectic. We’re making that process easier by showing you when a room is free for the entire series or for how many instances of it so you can book with confidence. This feature is currently only available for first release customers but will be available for all users in time.
Outlook on the Web will show the rooms available for your series and how many conflicts they have
Book multiple rooms
Not everyone in your meeting works in the same building or even the same city. For those meetings when your team is spread across the world, Outlook lets you book multiple rooms so you can make sure everyone has a good spot for that important call. To do this, go to “Browse more rooms” and search by city, then add the rooms you need.
What Do You (The Admin) Need to Make this Magic Happen?
The key piece to this new feature is the new Set-Place cmdlet. This cmdlet is only available in Exchange Online, we will not be including this feature in any on-prem versions of Exchange Server.
As the documentation here explains there are multiple properties you can set on a room mailbox that users can then use to filter room per the screenshots above.
Set-Place -Identity "Conference Room 01" -IsWheelChairAccessible $true -AudioDeviceName PolyCom -VideoDeviceName "InFocus WXGA Projector"
There are many different properties you can set, so put some time in planning those and then once you have them set your users can use them. Here’s a full list of properties you can set;
[-AudioDeviceName <String>] [-Building <String>] [-Capacity <System.Int32>] [-City <String>] [-CountryOrRegion <CountryInfo>] [-DisplayDeviceName <String>] [-FloorNumber <System.Int32>] [-GeoCoordinates <GeoCoordinates>] [-IsWheelChairAccessible <$true | $false>] [-Label <String>] [-Nickname <String>] [-Phone <String>] [-PostalCode <String>] [-State <String>] [-Street <String>] [-Tags <String>] [-VideoDeviceName <String>]
As you can see there are many opportunities here for comedy as well as helpful descriptors. It’s your choice what to do with these.
Most of the features are already available to Office and Microsoft 365 users and the remaining ones will be rolling out in the next couple of weeks.
We would love to know if these features help your users plan and manage their meetings or if finding the right rooms is now easier for them.
Please, tell us what you think in the comments below, in our UserVoice channel or using the in-product smile feature.
The Calendaring Team
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