18 Digital Signage Answers To Meeting Room Booking Nightmares
December 3, 2013 by Dave Haynes
Looking for a meeting room solution?
This post has proven so popular I started a dedicated micro-site for meeting room and conference room sign options – cleverly called Meeting Room Signs. OK, maybe not so clever, but certainly unambiguous.
It’s totally free to use and free to add listings, though premium listings with photos and deeper information are fee-based for vendors. Check it out at MeetingRoomSigns.biz
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This past year, in particular, has seen me running around a bunch of different corporate campuses, jumping between meeting rooms and watching as clients and business partners tried to figure out if rooms were booked, if people were showing up, and when the rooms were going to come free.
Not one of these buildings had digital meeting room signs, but every one of them could have used them. It’s a vertical just begging to be built out, and is a lot more open in terms of competitors than the over-clogged battle for digital menu board business in the QSR sector.
A few PR pieces for meeting room systems have shown up in my inbox lately, so I thought I’d break down what seems to be out there, and then wait for the emails from the “You forgot me!!!” crowd. For that, please use the comments section to note you’re out there, as well.
Any digital sign platform can do a screen showing meeting room information. This is a list of companies with specific meeting rooms products (and they are in no particular order):
The Swedish firm Evoko take s avery nice spin on meeting room signs by using halo lighting to visually signal if a meeting room is available – green meaning go, red meaning the room is occupied.
The Room Manager is an 8-inch tablet display that can be controlled at the screen, off the desktop or via a mobile app.
Calendar support includes Exchange, Office 365, Google Apps or Lotus Domino. It can be driven by Power Over Ethernet and supports numerous languages.
A Polish company has launched a meeting room product that uses Android for the operating system and then takes the smart step of integrating beacons.
Called Schedulla, a play on Godzilla, the tablet-centric platform has a simple CMS that allows users to pick a room, pick a date, describe, and invite participants. The system syncs with Google Calendar or Exchange.
By integrating with beacons, the set-up gives spatial context and allows people with smartphone apps to figure out where the heck the meeting room is located.
The company has both perpetual and perpetual licensing arrangements, and also does custom work.
Toronto-based Capital Networks has a version of its long-running Audience platform set up for for Room Booking Displays
A main selling point is how the room booking display solution enables sharing information across a network with a variety of displays throughout the facility, including the main lobby, elevator waiting areas, exits, entrances and outside individual meeting rooms.
Audience’s benefits include:
- Works across blended platforms using a variety of players and displays including Android and Samsung Smart Signage solutions.
- Can be integrated with Google Calendar, Office 365, Microsoft Exchange 2010 and 2013.
- Individual screens for each room can display a list of upcoming events for that room, plus the current event.
- If there are no events scheduled for that room that day, in-house promotional messaging can be show in place of event information.
- Audience scheduling model allows emergency information to override previously scheduled content in the case of an emergency situation.
- Interactivity with displays can be accomplished either through touch or Near Field Communication (NFC).
Visix has been doing meeting room signs for a while now, including a nice display sign that gets its power over the ethernet (network cable). They’ve just announced something called RoomBoard, a touchscreen wayfinding solution that shows space availability and maps event listings to rooms. It also integrates with the Atlanta-based company’s existing MeetingMinder room sign system.
I like how this gives a user something of a dashboard view of what rooms available and how to find them. At one point this summer I was working between two buildings and three floors full of rooms, and this would have been handy as heck.
I also like that you can book a room from that sign, and not have to crack a laptop or launch a device.
New York-based software firm ReSoft has what it matter of factly calls its Digital Sign Service for meeting room signs. It is integrated with Microsoft Exchange, which effectively means a meeting booked via a user’s Outlook email client gets automatically displayed on the right networked sign at the room’s door.
The system also has touch screen controls for booking right at the meeting room. The platform appears to be tablet based and works with iOS, Win7 and, soon, Android. It also works with Modulex, which I think is a system for architectural signage (ie wayfinding).
The company has a higher level service called Ariadne that can also handle Flash presentations, messaging, and video, and connects Exchange, Outlook, Lotus Notes, and other systems. It works on iOS, Android, Windows 7, and Modulex.
Minneapolis-based EmergingSoft has a product called MeetingPlanner Touch billed as the “most cost effective, flexible and configurable conference room digital signage solution in the marketplace.”
The software company has been in the business of writing applications for booking meeting rooms – all the way to integrating with HVAC, lighting and security system – so it would know the needs pretty well.
The room entry displays Microsoft Outlook/Exchange, Office 365 or with the company’s own MeetingPlanner application. Companies can run the application on existing sign hardware, commercial signs, Apple iPads, Samsung Galaxy tablets or non-interactive monitors.
The Danish firm proNestor is also in the room booking business, with cloud-based applications that make assigning rooms simple.
The PRONESTOR DISPLAY software runs on tablets – across platforms – and pulls data from Microsoft Exchange, Google Apps and from the company’s own BOOKING software.
Rooms can be booked and managed off the tablet screens, and the back-end monitors all the devices.
The company touts how it offers “one complete digital signage solution for all info screens needed in the company – consistent design and simple administration and maintenance.”
Industry veterans KeyWest Technology recently introduced its SignWave digital door sign system, based on the lowered cost Android platform. The company says it has partnered with several event and room scheduling software systems, and now works with:
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 / Outlook
- Newmarket Delphi EMS
- MICROS Fidelio Opera PMS
- Dean Evans EMS
The company says others are road-mapped.
On the flip side, if a client doesn’t use third-party event and room scheduling software, the SignWave server includes a room scheduling application that’s accessible through a web browser. Like many or most of the others, bookings can be managed right at the sign.
RMG Networks (formerly Symon Communications)
One of the capabilities acquired by RMG Networks when it bought Symon was digital door displays that connect seamlessly with scheduling system. They can inform guests and staff of current meetings and agendas associated with each meeting room throughout a facility.
Not a lot more on the RMG site about it, but Symon has been doing corporate communications forever, so this would be old hat to them. Here’s the old page on the still running Symon site.
Four Winds Interactive
Denver-based Four Winds does a lot of work in hospitals, hotels and colleges – all which have a lot of rooms – so developing capabilities around meeting rooms signs was a bit of a no-brainer. The company recently announced its Turnkey Interactive Meeting Room Sign & Scheduler Call for Assistance products.
Windows-based tablets pull meeting schedules updates automatically from Microsoft Exchange, giving users the ability to “book meetings, call for assistance, extend their current meeting or alert a previous organizer of a meeting that’s running long directly on the sign.”
I like the call for assistance piece (not sure if it’s unique or not) based on the idea that there are AV/IT guys running around big corporate campuses all day getting projectors to work and bring cables and adapters to hook up guests.
ROOM SYNC with Room Display 4 software is a professional, ultra-modern meeting room digital signage system that puts you in control of your room reservations. It can be used to manage room bookings via the email calendar or the convenient touch-screens outside each meeting room, and present a wide range of customized information including availability, organizer, title and upcoming events.
Room Display is offered as two options:
integrated in GoGet’s ready-to-use ROOM SYNC display unit;
bought as license-only so you can configure the software/hardware bundle yourself.
The platform works with Exchange and Google Apps, and the sign units are gorgeous little anodized aluminum numbers with wool accents on the sides.
Joan uses digital door signs with e-paper displays and an intuitive touch interface. Interactive displays feature meeting room booking at the door and updates on meetings already scheduled. Joan works with your existing calendar, i.e. Google or MS Outlook, and can schedule your meetings without additional conference room booking software.
One of the big selling points of the system is that while many new meeting room systems use iPads or other tablets, these Joan e-paper displays consume just a teeny fraction of the power. That adds up over a large campus, and helps the building operator with its green efforts.
Joan costs EUR 249 per meeting or conference room. The package includes: 6’’ Joan display unit, easy mounting kit, access to the settings dashboard, software and hosting.
This is a Danish product by a company well-established in the wayfinding business. It’s not just signs, but a blend of capabilities that cross mobile, tablets and corporate back-end systems.
At AskCody we help people and their organizations improve both productivity and happiness by truly Connecting People with Places and Events – Dynamically.
Whether it’s employees planning a meeting or event, looking for an available conference room, finding their way to the next meeting, a patient in a hospital finding their clinic or a student at a university finding their way to the next class, our cloud based modular and scalable platform is there to help.
Through our productivity enhancing suite of integrated solutions, we combine meeting planning and booking with digital meeting room signs that are linked into your calendar system for automatic updates, smartphone guidance, digital overview signs, interactive kiosks, dynamic maps, and even visitor management, to help your organization improve productivity and happiness for everyone involved.
Swedish CMS firm Smartsign uses HTML5 widgets to drive its Smartsign Conference service, which is touted as a making it easy to guide visitors to the right premises, provide current information and keep track of resource reservations.
The system is set up to integrate with Outlook and Exchange. “The rooms are booked in Microsoft Exchange/Outlook and are displayed on the screens and guide visitors to the right place. At each conference room, you can also have a screen to see if the room is occupied and for how long. The system is supplied with a default layout, contact us for a separate quote if a custom layout is needed.
Salt Lake City’s EventBoard goes beyond just meeting room signs to also provide guest greeters and analytics capabilities to assess how the overall system is working.
EventBoard is built to make your business stronger. That’s why it includes a powerful analytics framework that helps you quantify your workplace. There’s no need for guesswork — see when meetings are happening, which rooms are being used, and when it’s time for growth, all with the help of EventBoard.
It hooks up with calendars and offers broad customization capabilities.
Pro AV giant Extron is now shipping what it calls the Extron Room Scheduling application. The system pairs a standard TouchLink Pro touch panels by Extron with Microsoft’s Exchange platform to create a complete, easy-to-use solution.
TouchLink Pro touch panels only require free Room Agent software and Exchange to deliver a convenient stand-alone room booking solutions for any size facility. Users can reserve rooms from any Exchange-connected device, including their mobile devices, or from the touch panel itself.
Since Extron Room Scheduling uses Extron’s 5″ and 7″ TouchLink Pro touch panels, multiple mounting options are already available.
Users can book a room from the touch panel, and can see, even at a distance, if rooms are open or not based on bright green and red LEDs within the bezel.
That’s my list. I KNOW there are more, and I KNOW pretty much every digital signage CMS has been used to put stuff on screens at doorways. But these are ones that have put some particular attention to this job
Missing one here? Have one you like. Add to the comments below.