Exchange room booking and recurring meetings was finally simplified

If you follow the Microsoft Exchange Team blog, you probably noticed this post from around 1 month ago, “Easier Room Booking in Outlook on the Web”.

I know it’s been a month, but I haven’t blogged my 2 cents around this, so here it goes.

Why this change

This was an old ask from the Community, so well done for the Exchange Team (and in this case more specifically the Calendar Team) for making this happen.

Selecting a room

The initial focus is on user experience as it relates to room filtering. You can use filters like room location (allows multiple locations), room availability and room features (Audio, Video, etc).

Recurring meetings and room availability

This is one of the major changes implemented. Although Exchange has mechanisms to allow you to coordinate the availability of all meeting attendees, the availability of meeting rooms for the entire series was always a challenge.

The Exchange Team is addressing the above by having Exchange perform an availability query for all meeting dates, until it finds one unavailable, and let you know for how many instances the room is available.

Multiple rooms

In my opinion this is the second major change. For Geo diverse teams, with attendees in multiple office locations, you can select “browse more rooms” and add a local room for each of the attendees locations.

How does an Admin implement this

Basically by leveraging the Set-Place cmdlet (only available in Exchange Online), to define the room characteristics.

Bottom line

I really like this new feature. If I had to point out some negatives, those would be the fact that it’s not support for Exchange on premises, it was launched as an Outlook Web Access feature only (for now – it’s in the road map to make it available for Outlook) and also, in my opinion, the Exchange Team should look at allowing the Organizer to select an additional room(s) when the one selected does not cover all instances.

Finally just want to point out the -GeoCoordinates parameter in the Set-Place cmdlet. It’s really cool and allows you to enter the coordinates of the room and integrate with Bing Maps!

 

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