Reserving conference rooms used to be a pain in the ass. A few years ago we used to have paper lists printed on the side of each room, but it took a long time to walk by every meeting room just to see if they’re available. Later we adapted an electronic system, but then it was hard to reserve a room on the spot. We started to look for a better solution to the problem. At the time, we couldn’t find a system suited for our needs, so two of our great developers, Oleg Grenrus and Vihtori Mäntylä, decided to create a reservation display application for Android tablets. A few sweaty days later, the first version of Reservator was born, and now after several iterations Reservator is open source and you can also find the application at Google Play for free.
"How many times have you walked in front of a meeting room just to realise that its taken? And how many times have you had to open your laptop to check your reservation. Reserving and checking meeting room status needs to be simple, not only from your own computer but also from the meeting room door. Reservator is one piece of puzzle of solving the never ending problem of shared resources. Our job is to help our customers and make working with Google Apps as fluent and easy as possible. We will recommend Reservator to our customer to do just that"
- Antero Hanhirova Technical director, Gapps Oy (official Google Apps reseller in Finland)
Reservator uses your Google calendar’s resources for the conference rooms. The application displays the bookings of the room it is located at, but you can also use it to book other rooms. It will also display whether the room is available or not, as seen in the picture above. While using Reservator, you can still book rooms normally through Google Calendar. For the setup of this application you only need to sync your tablet with a Google account that has resources available and select the correct room in the application.
“As a gentleman who can dress snappy, but has no proper skills (like programming) to speak of, I need to attend a lot of meetings to appear suitably busy. Before Reservator we had a lot of meeting room conflicts; you arrive on time, with your notebook and espresso, just to find the room occupied with some other agenda. 'How to find a free room? Where!?', you fret, while the espresso and your would-be customers are growing cold. The indignation! With Reservator this ordeal became a thing of the past. I don't miss it. Now we can all be friends again.”
- Teemu Turunen Open source program lead, Futurice
If you are using Google apps already, the only investment you have to make is the tablets. Since Reservator uses your calendar’s resources for booking, you can use it for so much more than just meeting rooms. For example, good use cases would be to use it for classrooms or for lending a video projector within your company. If there is a feature you would like to have in the application, please contribute at GitHub.
Reservator is our second contribution to our open source program called the Summer of Love. The software is released under the BSD license and you can find the source code at GitHub. If your company starts using this application, feel free to send us photos of your setup.
Our next project for open sourcing is going to be a VPN management tool so heads up sysadmins and other people with similar interests. Remember to follow our blog and our Github organization for more interesting projects during the summer. If you have any questions, comments or feedback you can contact us by email at email@example.com.