Outlook / Exchange integration with Spaces
Picture this: a 2-way sync between Exchange calendars and LibCal spaces, so that reservations you make via Exchange will automatically block off availability in the Spaces module, and reservations made via Spaces are automatically pushed to Exchange! Yup, we went there! This is a huge win for libraries with spaces that can be reserved both by the public (via LibCal) and by staff (via meeting requests in Exchange). Our new integration will keep your reservations in sync, no matter where a booking request originates. What's more, your LibCal platform will become a go-to place to get awesome statistics on the usage of your spaces and equipment from both sources. High-five for this big win!
Here’s another really cool thing about the Exchange support: it will make it even easier to integrate with touchscreen panels. LibCal Spaces offers full read/write APIs for integration with these types of panels, and many of these panels already support integration with Exchange. This means you can potentially integrate LibCal Spaces with these types of panels, without having to do any custom coding. This new integration means that availability stays synchronized across all possible booking points, with minimal setup effort – totally amazing!!
How it works
This feature enables you to push new LibCal Space Bookings, updates to Bookings and Booking cancellations instantly to your Outlook/Exchange "Resources". Resource mailboxes can be included as resources in meeting requests, providing a simple and efficient way to manage the scheduling of resources for your organization.
Appointments booked via your Spaces will show up, almost instantly, in your Outlook/Exchange Resource Calendar. This way, you'll know when an appointment has been scheduled, or cancelled, almost instantly.
- Your Outlook Resource Calendar will contain the name and email address of the person who booked the space.
- Appointment times will be imported as UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) into the resource calendar, however Outlook will convert this to your local time zone.
- LibCal will treat the resource as busy when an appointment is marked as either 'Busy', 'Out of Office' or 'Working Elsewhere' status. These are defined within the Outlook appointment.
But wait, what if the resource is booked via Exchange/Outlook?
No worries - just add the event to your Outlook/Exchange resource calendar as you normally would, LibCal will obtain the Free/Busy information and will not try to create a booking at this time.
This 2-way sync will:
- Remove the booking time slot from Public Interface so users can't book time with the resource.
- Show as 'BUSY in Outlook' on the Admin Interface.
And voila! You'll have successfully prevented a double-booking disaster while improving your workflows!
Step 1. Connect a location to Exchange/Outlook
To connect a location to your Exchange server:
- Go to Admin > Equipment & Spaces.
- Go to the Manage Locations tab.
- Find the location you want to set up, then click on its Edit () icon in the Actions column.
- Click on the Exchange/Outlook tab in the location's settings.
In order to begin syncing your Outlook resources with your LibCal space bookings, you must first connect LibCal to your Exchange server. If you are unsure of any of the below settings, please ask your IT staff for the correct ones to use.
- Enter your Exchange server's domain name in the Server/Host field.
- The server address is usually your base Outlook Web App (OWA) address. A way of obtaining the server address is directly via 3rd party clients such as Outlook or even the Apple iPhone.
- In Outlook, you can find this under File > Account Settings > Email > Change > More Settings > Connection > Exchange Proxy Settings. You should see an https:// address: enter this (without the https://) in LibCal.
- From an iPhone, you can find this under Settings > Mail > Choose Account > Exchange Account > Server.
- Using Office 365? Your Server/Host name would be outlook.office365.com.
- Enter your Username.
- This is usually an email address or your Active Directory login (e.g. Staff\PSmith).
- Using Office 365? Your username would be your email address.
- Enter your Exchange Password.
- Click the Save Exchange Settings button.
- If the connection is successful, a confirmation message will appear.
- Otherwise, an error will appear. Check your settings and try again.
Step 2. Pair spaces with Exchange resources
To manage your spaces, go to Admin > Equipment & Spaces and click on the link in the Spaces column for your location.
Connecting a space to an Exchange resource
Once you've connected your location to your Exchange server, you're ready to begin pairing your spaces with specific Exchange resources. When you pair a space with a resource, this will ensure that their bookings remain in sync.
- Locate the category containing your space, then click on the space's Edit () icon in the Actions column.
- Click on the Exchange/Outlook tab in the space's settings.
- In the Exchange Resource field, enter the email address for the resource you want to sync.
- Not sure what this should be? Check with your IT staff or Exchange administrator.
- Click the Save & Test Settings button.
- If the test is successful, a confirmation message will appear.
- Otherwise, you'll see an error. Correct your resource settings and try again.
- If you'd like, you can optionally import existing space bookings into your Exchange resource. Click the Run the Import button to continue.