Australian Catholic University simplifies tech stack and improves meeting room booking experience
Before searching for a new meeting room booking system, ACU had two booking systems in place for 130 spaces. First, staff needed to choose a room for a specific time in one web-based interface. After that, they needed to also send a note to their meeting attendees using Outlook with the meeting details.
"It was a broken experience in terms of using two different systems to book one single meeting. We were receiving complaints, particularly from faculty and knew we needed to look for a solution.” - Niranjan Prabhu, Chief Information Officer
This dual-system setup made for a clunky experience for faculty and professional staff visiting from different departments and cities. It wasn’t clear or always up to date what amenities — like video and audio conferencing tech, for example — was available in each meeting room. Seating arrangements became particularly treacherous after social distancing introduced additional space considerations.
Even when physically near the meeting space, it was unclear whether it was booked or available since sometimes rooms were booked but not used.
If a staff member found a suitable space, they had to head back to their desktop to check availability then book it, instead of just grabbing the room right then and there. Once they made it to their booked space, video and audio setup often took up the first 10-15 minutes of the meeting.
Something had to change. The end goal: make finding and booking meeting rooms more intuitive for staff by standardizing their tech stack.
During the IT team’s thorough analysis of solutions, it was clear Robin had everything they were looking for.
“We evaluated Robin against other products and they came out as the clear winner that met all of our requirements.”
Anywhere, any device
The key criteria they searched for was ‘anywhere, any device’ for better visibility for staff. Effectively, they needed a solution that could integrate simply with Outlook 365 and their communication platform, Microsoft Teams. Robin allows their faculty to access the scheduling system through their desktop dashboard, Outlook 365, and even mobile (iOS and Android), making it easy to reference what desks and spaces are available during their commute in.
Complete meeting room visuals with one-click to join
What used to be an outdated view of a meeting room is now replaced with clear visuals during booking. Now, faculty can see exactly what a space looks like down to the number of chairs and equipment setup. Staff can use filters for amenities and capacity to search for meeting rooms best suited for the task at hand. Once they're in the room, faculty can join their video or teleconference meeting within the room in a single click through Outlook.
Support for room displays
Booking a meeting is no longer a several step process, walking back and forth from meeting room to desktop. Using Crestron displays, faculty can book a meeting directly from a room display right outside of the meeting room. Room displays also make it clear which rooms are available just by scanning the floor. As soon as someone secures a space, Outlook is automatically updated for the rest of the university.
Space utilization reporting
Before Robin, there was no way for ACU to get an accurate view of space utilization. Now, they’re able to see details as granular as which departments are booking what meeting rooms and how often. They were surprised to discover that how their space is used and how they thought it was being used were two completely different stories.
Using the analytics, they can determine which spaces are going unused and repurpose them in more productive ways.
“The workplace analytics definitely justify the money we’re spending. We don’t have to build as many meeting rooms as we once thought, which again justifies the ROI in terms of preventing unnecessary capital spend.”
Back-to-university planning post-COVID-19
At the beginning of the virus, the university had initial lockdowns. During that time, they began return-to-school planning including what tools they’d need to plan a safe and smooth return.
Using Robin they’re able to manage capacity within meeting rooms to accommodate social distancing. As they follow local and university guidelines for reopening, Robin helps them stay on top of safe space management.
“We’re able to understand how many meeting spaces we need to accommodate in our fully operational campuses. For campuses in partial shutdown, we can easily communicate updates to our faculty and update configuration for all meeting rooms. That's a very important insight for us.” - Niranjan Prabhu, Chief Information Officer