Using Teamup to manage Conference Rooms

Introduction

Conference Room booking is a common use case for teamup and the aim of this document is to present a simple implementation. As particular use cases will vary, I will try to make this document generic and start with a simple implementation which may suit the majority of users before introducing some additional features that may be of benefit. 

Single conference room

First, create a sub-calendar to represent the conference room.

Go to settings>calendars and create a new sub-calendar to represent the conference room. The sub-calendar should be created with allow overlapping events set to NO.   Choose a different colour for each sub-calendar. 

Figure 1 – Create a sub-calendar for the conference room

Create Links to access the sub-calendar

In this step, we will provide the access which will allow each user to make and modify bookings.

In this example, this is done by creating a unique calendar link for each user. Links provide very simple account-less access to calendars (i.e not requiring each user to be registered).

An alternative is to require each user to have a teamup user account and password. This is discussed later. 

The number of links you need to create, and the access permissions will depend on your particular environment in relation to your users.

To create a new link, go to settings > sharing> create link.

In this example, I have named the link Company-A where Company-A is the name of one of the companies in a serviced office block with just one conference room. 

Figure 2 – Create Unique Company Link for Company A

In the Calendars Shared option, I have selected the sub-calendar we set up earlier – Conference Room 1.

In the Permissions option, I have set this to Modify my events, no details. This means that anyone using this link will be able to create, view and modify events on behalf of Company-A only.  

In this setup, you would need to create an identical link for each company in the office block.

Because we have chosen the permission Modify my events, no details, each company will not be able to see any details of bookings made by other companies; They will only see that the time slot is Reserved.

Other Scenarios:

Maybe you are sharing a conference room with other departments in the same company. If you require that each department has complete control over its own bookings and cannot view or modify bookings made by other departments, this would be the same set-up as if each were a separate company, and you would give each department its own unique link.

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In the simplest case, where all users work for the same company, they could share the same link, but this would not prevent a user from viewing or deleting a booking made by someone else! You could create a unique link for each organizer authorised to make bookings. In Sharing options choose Modify my eventswhich would allow users to see details of other events but modify their own events only. Or choose Modify my events, no details to prevent them seeing details of events booked by other organizers.

Booking the Conference Room

Having created the sub-calendar and the links, we are now ready to start reserving time slots for the conference room. This is done simply by creating an event on the sub-calendar to represent the booking. 

Let’s see this in action as in in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3 – Making a booking on behalf of Company-A

First, “Gary” accesses the calendar using the link for Company-A. He books an available space at 11:00 am.  He gives the event a title of “Team meeting”, selects the Calendar for Conference Room 1 and puts his name in the Who field. This is recommended as the name will appear in the event title on the calendar.  Then another user accesses the calendar using the link for Company-B. The space at 11:00 am is shown as Reserved.  Because we created both links as Modify my events, no details, the second user can only see that the time is reserved. He cannot modify the event or view the booking details. 

Note that in this case we have changed the Who field to be a required field. See Custom Fields later.

Multiple Conference Rooms

This is a simple extension of the first use case. In this case, we assume there are 2 or more conference rooms. In this example, we have created a sub-calendar for each room and defined them in a hierarchy. This is done in the settings>calendar function by naming them Conference Rooms>Room 1 and Conference Rooms>Room 2 respectively.

The links created in the previous example for Company-A and Company-B have been modified to allow access to each sub-calendar (Room 1 and Room 2 respectively).

The conference rooms are identified by distinguishing colours. And the display can be filtered to show either or both sub-calendars.

Both Company-A and Company-B can book either conference room subject to availability.

Figure 4 – Weekly view showing multiple conference rooms

In Figure 4, you can see that we are accessing the calendar using the Company-A link. Therefore, for bookings made by Company-A (for either conference room), we can see the booking details. For bookings made by Company-B, we can just see that the room is “reserved” for that time. 

You might also create a separate link for a “conference room administrator” that shows the details for bookings made by any company.

Later we will see how you can filter the results just to see the details we are interested in.

Using custom fields

Figure 5- Standard Event fields

When creating an event there are certain default details which may be included in the reservation.  Figure 5 shows the default field definitions. In this case, we have changed the definition of the “Who” field to make it required. We will see shortly how to do that. It is recommended to specify the “Who” field, as this is automatically displayed in the Title when shown on the calendar. This will make it easier to find particular events (See Filtering results later). 

It is possible that for your purposes you may wish to add additional “custom fields” that are relevant to your situation. To manage custom fields, go to Settings > Event Fields

Figure 6 – Manage Event fields

Figure 6  Shows the standard “built-in” event fields. Title and Calendar are mandatory. The remaining fields may be activated or deactivated and reordered.  Click on the pencil symbol to edit the field. At the top the manage event fields screen is an option to Add a New Field

For example, Figure 7 shows the definition of the Who Field. Note that Required has been changed to YES, which means it must be completed and show in event title is set to YES. 

Figure 7 – Change the Who field to required YES

As we saw previously in Figure 3, the Who field has been used to show who made the booking and this is displayed in the event title. In the case of a conference room booking system, it is possible that you might wish to add other information to the booking.  It is possible to add fields which may be defined as required or optional.  The fields may be defined as number fields, single line text or multiple choices.

For example,

AV (audio visual)        Yes or No
Room Layout               Board Room | Horseshoe | Classroom etc.
Catering                       Yes or No
Company name           text
Number of people      numeric

{I could add more instructional information here, but it’s fairly self-explanatory GB}

Filtering displays

It is likely the calendar users will want to filter the displays to focus on selected criteria. For example, to see just the bookings for a particular conference room, or bookings on behalf of a particular company or user.  In Figure 4 we saw how it is possible to filter the display to show only one conference room by selecting the applicable sub-calendar.

It is also possible to search for events containing a particular keyword which may be entered as a Filter parameter.

Figure 8 Calendar List view showing filter function

Figure 8 shows a list view of the calendar. In this example, we are using a Room manager link that displays details for all Companies. Earlier, we entered a name in the WHO field to identify which company had made the booking. By entering the name (Gary or Harry) as a Filter, we can toggle the display to show just bookings for a particular user, or all users.

Email Notifications

A useful feature is the ability to receive email notifications of new events or changes to events. This may be useful if your organisation has a conference room administrator role – possibly responsible for ensuring that additional services are provided such as catering or Audio/Video requirements.

For more information view knowledge base article on email notifications.

Users and Groups instead of Links

Earlier, we saw how to create unique links that provide simple accountless access to one or more sub-calendars, with specific levels of authority to view or modify the selected sub-calendars. 

In your environment, it may be desirable to register individual users and optionally assign the users to specific groups with different levels of sub-calendar access and view/modify privilege. 

For more information view knowledge base article on Groups and Links

GaryB