From the backseat of an Uber on the way to the airport, I made myself a mental note, remember to schedule the conference call for 10:00 AM tomorrow morning. Why the mental note, didn't I have my iPhone? Yes, but the ability to schedule a web meeting on my phone didn't yet exist. Want to know the rest of the story? That meeting never happened. After 6 hours of plains, trains, and automobiles I forgot to send the invite.
Raise your hand if you've received an invite with the description, "meeting info to follow." Heck, I've done it!
In the past, we had a "sophisticated" option to solve this challenge, Reservationless Conferencing Numbers (woot, woot!). Who had (or still has) a contact card with ; (wait) and , (pause) for conferencing? Reservationless conferencing provided an always on, always available audio conferencing bridge. Unfortunately, this solution was audio only and didn't include web and video experiences.
Meetings success depends on three key factors: scheduling, joining, and the in-meeting experience. But if the meeting isn't simply scheduled, nothing else matters! OK, but how do we fix scheduling?
The Fix: Schedule Anywhere with @webex
Scheduling with @webex is a backend integration and not dependent upon an Outlook plugin like Productivity Tools. This means it works in any email client on the desktop, mobile, or web.
Just add your attendees and meetings rooms (including those with video endpoints) on the To field and @webex on the Location field.
Adding @webex populates your Personal Meeting Room (PMR) details and schedules any video endpoints tied to the conference room. Hit send and bada-bing, bada-boom you're done scheduling the meeting!
The meeting details will appear in Exchange, on the WebEx mobile app, and via a big green button (we call that One Button to Press or OBTP) on the video unit.
If you have users with more advanced needs such as the requirement for a unique meeting URL per meeting, @webex works in the same environment as Productivity Tools without issue. The WebEx mobile app also provides advanced scheduling capabilities.
Cisco CTO, Jonathan Rosenberg, likes to call @webex scheduling a Magical Experience. And while I like magic shows, I also don't believe that bunnies live in hats. How does this magical backend experience actually work?
Cue the Hybrid Calendar Service. The Hybrid Calendar Service provides integration between Exchange (server and online versions are both supported) and the WebEx cloud service.
The service runs on an Expressway C (typically dedicated) for Exchange Server and O365 integration but allowing direct integration (no Expressway C server required) for Google Calendar. This server-less architecture will also be available for Exchange Online customers in the near future.
Want more info? An excellent deployment guide the Calendar Service (and the other Cisco hybrid services) exists on the Cisco Collaboration Help Site.
Now check it off your to-do list, meeting scheduling is fixed!