A major multinational utility was seeking a partner to help create implement and evolve a meeting room booking solution across the company’s entire estate.
The organization had a big wish list – it needed to improve space utilization, reduce use of external space, have a unified approach to room and space booking, better visibility of meeting costs and encourage video adoption as a multi-location business tool.
The Utility was using Outlook for most of its room and resource booking, but was using a wide range of tools for its larger sites relating to visitor management, catering, AV and VC – and none of these were integrated. The Utility had no consistent process for booking space. The lack of reporting facilities meant it was difficult to identify spend, and to determine how well the rooms were being utilized.
The Utility was also concerned that it had no integration with significant emerging technologies that it wished to deploy, such as video conferencing to reduce multi-site meetings involving travel.
A stringent selection approach was chosen – the Utility decided to evaluate two types of software in two locations with different panels and components, followed by a three-month evaluation on site.
After evaluation, Rendezvous from NFS was chosen because of its functionality, the reliability of its panel solution, and the level of customer service delivered during the trial.
The Rendezvous solution
Rendezvous is an enterprise level meeting room and resource scheduling solution. It gives the Utility easy visibility of available meeting room space and other resources across nearly 40 locations so that staff can easily view and book meeting space on a self-service basis through Outlook.
Rendezvous’ integration with Cisco TMS video conferencing means meeting changes are immediately reflected in the VC solution, saving time and ensuring meetings are well executed.
Rendezvous also integrates with a range of room panels and AV equipment providing digital guidance for staff and visitors, including reception panels and visitor signage. This creates an excellent meeting experience for both staff and guests.
Following the successful trial of the Rendezvous solution, NFS provided a hosting environment for rapid deployment of the software across multiple locations. External hosting, integrated with the Utility’s Outlook and Exchange environment, enabled roll-out of the software to 40 locations with nearly 500 meeting rooms.
For reasons of cost, a range of different room panels was selected for evaluation and deployment.
This varied from low-cost panels normally used in a retail environment for smaller internal rooms to industry-standard panel technologies for larger meeting rooms. High-end panels fully integrated with in-room controls were chosen for boardrooms and high-profile meeting spaces.
Integration with the chosen video conferencing system was also part of the initial implementation, and the Rendezvous module also provides visitor management facilities including badge printing.
How the Utility benefits
Improved space booking and utilization
The combination of Outlook integration and the web interface makes booking meetings – especially by the PA community – much simpler, saving three to five minutes per multi-location meeting.
For staff, integrated booking using the Outlook interface provided faster multi location booking capability as well as the ability to include catering, AV and other services as part of the same booking experience.
No-shows have been reduced significantly. Further time savings have also been made because Rendezvous allows the booking of multiple resources ranging from meeting rooms to desks and car parking as part of the same process. Meeting changes are easily accommodated and notified to service providers.
Within three months of deploying Rendezvous software, the Utility reported savings of over $100,000 from reduced booking of external rooms, simply by being able to find suitable available internal space. Integrating video conferencing with room booking is estimated to be saving another $5000 per week as a minimum in reduced travel expenditure.
Space utilization reporting
By receiving real-time information on space utilization, the Utility can identify further savings by adopting business rules that automatically release space if users do not arrive.
In addition, good quality information on the most and least used rooms has enabled the Utility to rethink its room configuration. This is likely to provide additional savings as larger rooms are converted to smaller rooms and open spaces to accommodate greater adoption of flexible working.
Following the success of the Rendezvous deployment, a number of important developments in the way space is booked and used by the Utility are on the agenda.
- The implementation of desk-top video conferencing will reduce demand for some types of meeting space related to internal smaller meetings.
- There are plans for increased integration between the room booking system and in-room controls of lighting, heating and other services, which will drive a more energy-efficient building with a lower carbon footprint.
It will also automate meeting set-up, which typically can waste 15 minutes for complex meetings involving digital presentations and video conferencing.
- The Utility is also looking to move to self-service in terms of regular visitor attendance at specific locations. This will be made possible by creating a simple check-in by mobile device for authorized visitors or reception staff.
- As business moves to greater adoption of flexible working, it is evaluating sensor technology to enable it to better plan for the space types and booking rooms that will be required.
“NFS were selected on the basis of product functionality, the high level of service offered during the evaluation and implementation process, and their willingness to work with us to create an enterprise level solution to deal with the many facets of our operation.”
Luis Desouza, CEO of NFS Technology
“We’re now working closely with the utility on initiatives aimed at driving further efficiencies and improved cost management across the booking process, including providing display panel technologies to give staff better information on meeting room use. For example, we’ve enhanced the Rendezvous software to notify managers when high cost services are being ordered.”