Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

Introduction to Room List

Setting up room finder in Office 365 using room list is required when you are migrating to Office 365 from a non-exchange platform or you are using Office 365 in your organization. Setting up Room finder in Office 365 using Room list feature is also available in on-premises exchange version as well. Based on your organization requirements, it could be possible that the users users may be used to of looking up conference rooms by checking all rooms available to them and then picking the room they want depending on which ones are available. In Office 365, they will be using Room Mailboxes to schedule meetings in conference rooms, auditorium, labs or other facilities.

By default, users cannot see all the rooms unless they pick them

Outlook client will show all the rooms and all conflicts, but to empower your users and let them see only the rooms that are available for the time when they’re looking at scheduling a meeting to improve user productivity requires you to setup Room Finder for Microsoft Office Outlook by leveraging Room List Distribution Groups.

What is Room Finding with Room Lists?

Room Finder simplifies the process of searching for an available room while setting up a meeting. Instead of adding all possible conference room to a meeting request and using the Scheduling Assistant to identify available rooms, meeting organizers can use Room Finder to show a room list, see suggested times, and choose an available room.

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

  • Create Room List Distribution Groups by running the following PowerShell cmdlet

C:\> New-DistributionGroup -Name “Conference Rooms” –PrimarySmtpAddress “ConfRooms@msexperttalk.com” –RoomList

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

  • Get a list of all room mailboxes in your organization by running the following PowerShell cmdlet

C:\> Get-Mailbox -RcipientTypeDetails RoomMailbox

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

  • To filter your room mailboxes based on office location, run the following PowerShell cmdlet

C:\> C:\> $HQConfRoom = Get-Mailbox -RecipientTypeDetails RoomMailbox -Filter {Office -eq ‘HQ’} | select -ExpandProperty Alias

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

  • Add existing Room Mailboxes to Room List Distribution Groups by running the following PowerShell cmdlet

C:\>  $HQConfRoom |

Add-DistributionGroupMember -Identity “Conference Rooms”

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

  • To get a list of distribution group members, run the following powershell cmdlet

C:\> Get-DistributionGroupMember -Identity “Conference Rooms” | ft Name, PrimarySMTPAddress, Office -AutoSize

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

Outlook will automatically detect Room List Distribution Groups and populates the Room Finder with room lists in outlook when an end user is setting up a meeting.

End user experience with Room Finding when Room Lists are Setup

Without room lists, end users are required to manually look for a list of available rooms and select a room based on availability. Room lists will empower end user and provide options to end user based on time selected. When a end user setup a meeting in outlook client, followings steps will be performed with Room lists being setup in the organization.

  • Open Outlook
  • Start a new meeting
  • Invite a few people to your new meeting
  • Pick a time
  • Click on room finding if it is not open already

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

  • In the drop down pick a room list that has conference rooms in it

Setting up Room Finder in Office 365 using Room list

  • Outlook will now search all the rooms in the room list for the time use has selected and present with suggested times for any rooms available. If a room is not available then it will not show up in the list
  • In Choose an Available room: pick the room you want and hit send to schedule a meeting

Please note that at the current release of Office 365, room lists are only visible with PowerShell. They do not show up in the EAC. You have to run the PowerShell commands listed above to see them and add members to them.

This should save your administrators and executive assistants time when planning and scheduling conference rooms in environments where there are abundant conference rooms and recurring meetings.