How EMS for Microsoft Exchange Works

In Update 33, EMS for Microsoft Exchange was updated with the ability to sync booking data between Exchange and EMS (Exchange-to-EMS and EMS-to-Exchange) and to create, modify, and cancel Exchange integrated bookings using additional access points (EMS Desktop Client, EMS Room Sign App, and EMS Kiosk App).

The information herein is for Update 33 or later. If you are not on Update 33 or later of EMS for Microsoft Exchange, refer to EMS for Microsoft Exchange Install and Configuration Guide (Update 32 or prior) for information and instructions regarding your version of EMS for Microsoft Exchange.

Once rooms and resources have been configured for EMS for Microsoft Exchange , users can add these rooms or resources to a booking, and EMS for Microsoft Exchange will integrate the resource to the booking through the Microsoft® Exchange resource (room/equipment) mailbox. 

EMS for Microsoft Exchange also provides bi-directional syncing—Exchange-to-EMS and EMS-to-Exchange. By syncing booking data in both directions, room and resource availability is correctly maintained and displayed in Exchange calendars. Depending on your configuration and the EMS product being used (for example, EMS Room Sign App), EMS for Microsoft Exchange can also keep user availability up-to-date in Exchange calendars.

The following sections provide more information about how these sync methods work:

For information on the types of booking data that can be synced between EMS and Exchange using EMS for Microsoft Exchange.

Exchange-to-EMS Sync

The Exchange-to-EMS sync pushes the bookings created in native Exchange applications (such as Microsoft Outlook for PC or Mac, Outlook on the web, and Outlook Mobile) to EMS.

EMS Platform Services performs all the work for the Exchange-to-EMS side of the sync. EMS Platform Services subscribes to the Exchange room mailboxes configured in EMS. If any changes occur to a room that is linked to an Exchange mailbox—such as a meeting being created, edited, or canceled—then EMS Platform Services will be notified about the changes and will make those changes on the EMS side.

For information on the types of booking data that can be synced between Exchange and EMS using EMS for Microsoft Exchange, see EMS for Microsoft Exchange Interoperability Between EMS Products and Exchange.

The following sections provide additional information about Exchange-to-EMS sync:

Create a Booking from a Native Exchange Application

When users create a booking in a native Exchange application, the information that can be synced with EMS is limited by the type of booking information that native Exchange applications allow. Native Exchange applications allow the following booking information to be synced: 

  • Subject – becomes Event Name in EMS

  • Organizer – only syncs organizer if information is in EMS; will not sync attendees

  • Date/Time

  • Location

To complete a reservation that originated from a native Exchange application and make the reservation compatible with EMS, EMS Platform Services needs additional information that is not required in native Exchange applications. This additional information is configured as defaults in EMS Platform Services Admin Portal (see Exchange Sync Parameters for more information). When Exchange syncs with EMS, the default values selected for the Exchange Sync parameters—Reserve Status, Conflict Status, Cancel Status, Default Group—will be applied to the reservations. The following is a list of the Exchange Sync parameters:

  • Reserve Status

  • Conflict Status

  • Cancel Status

  • Default Group

  • Reservation Source

  • Default Organizer Mailbox

From native Exchange applications, four types of reservations can be created:

  • Single meeting with single location (one day, one booking)

  • Single meeting with multiple locations (one day, two or more bookings)

  • Recurring meeting with single location (two or more days, one booking)

  • Recurring meeting with multiple locations (two or more days, two or more bookings)

Example of Creating a Reservation with Exchange-to-EMS Sync

A native Outlook user creates a multi-location meeting. With Exchange-to-EMS sync installed and configured, EMS Platform Services creates separate bookings for each of the meeting's locations and then maps an Exchange organizer to an EMS everyday user's Exchange email address (using the value in the Email Address field in the EMS Everyday Users Configuration dialog). If the user does not exist in EMS, then EMS Platform Services will assign a default group configured for syncing from Exchange-to-EMS.

EMS Platform Services will create reservations and bookings in EMS with the following data:

  • Exchange user (organizer) as the everyday user or default group (described above)

  • Dates/times and location from Exchange

  • Defaults configured for Exchange-to-EMS sync:

    • Event type – none

    • Event name – meeting name

    • Group – default group

    • Temp contact – organizer

    • Setup type – none

    • Setup count – number of attendees

EMS Platform Services creates reservations and bookings in EMS with the Reservation Source, Reserve status, and Conflict status configured in the Exchange Sync Parameters section of the EMS Platform Services Admin Portal.

Modify a Booking from a Native Exchange Application

Users can modify the following meeting information in native Exchange applications and have the information synced and updated in EMS:

  • Subject: Event name in EMS

  • Date/Time

  • Room

If the room is not available for the updated date/time in EMS, or if the newly selected room is not available in EMS, then a conflict status is applied to the booking. The conflict status is configured in the Exchange Sync Parameters section of the EMS Platform Services Admin Portal.

Example of Modifying a Reservation with Exchange-to-EMS Sync

A native Exchange user modifies an existing reservation from the Outlook mobile app. The user changes the reservation's date and time, the meeting name (event name), and the room. With Exchange-to-EMS sync, these changes are updated in EMS as follows: 

  • Date/Time: If the room is available for the updated date and time, then the booking is updated in EMS. Additionally, EMS will honor the Adjust Service Order Times Upon Booking Edit parameter if the reservation has a service order. If room is not available, or if the user has created a conflict, then a conflict status is applied to the booking. The conflict status is configured in the Exchange Sync Parameters section of the EMS Platform Services Admin Portal.

  • Meeting Name – The event name is updated in EMS.

  • Room – If the newly selected room is available for the updated date and time, then the booking is updated in EMS. If the room is not available, or if the user has created a conflict, then a conflict status is applied to the booking. The conflict status is configured in the Exchange Sync Parameters section of the EMS Platform Services Admin Portal.

For all the above changes—date/time, meeting name, room location—the booking and reservation history will be updated in EMS.

Cancel a Booking from a Native Exchange Application

When users cancel bookings from native Exchange applications, the information is synced, and the booking is canceled in EMS. Also, the room availability is updated and reflected in the room's Exchange calendar.

Example of Canceling a Reservation with Exchange-to-EMS Sync

A native Exchange user deletes a meeting from the calendar in the Outlook web access app. With Exchange-to-EMS sync, the meeting reservation is canceled in EMS as follows: 

  • The meeting's booking(s) are canceled in EMS, which makes the rooms available for future reservations.

  • The reservation and booking histories are updated in EMS.

  • The default cancel status is applied. The cancel status is configured in the Exchange Sync Parameters section of the EMS Platform Services Admin Portal.

Benefits and Considerations for Using Exchange-to-EMS Sync

Many types of work groups use Microsoft Outlook alone (without the EMS for Outlook add-in) to find and book meeting spaces. Users are accustomed to setting up a meeting in an Outlook or an Exchange-enabled client, inviting attendees, and then clicking on the Rooms button to locate space within their office. With EMS for Microsoft Exchange, these types of users can continue to use their non-EMS processes for booking self-service spaces through Microsoft Outlook (referred to as native Outlook bookings), and organizations can capture the space utilization statistics of native Outlook bookings in EMS.

Benefits

The following types of users and organizations can benefit from the EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS Sync:

  • EMS customers who want to maintain existing processes for booking self-service meeting rooms through native Outlook would benefit from the Exchange-to-EMS sync functionality.

  • Organizations with smaller, isolated offices with few meeting rooms or no distinct room booking workflows would benefit from the Exchange-to-EMS sync functionality.

    Rather than give users in these smaller offices a new tool, the users can continue to book spaces in native Outlook applications, and the room booking information will be synced from Exchange-to-EMS.

  • Organizations that have Macintosh-based work groups/employees who use Outlook for Macintosh to book self-service meeting rooms would benefit from the Exchange-to-EMS sync functionality.

    The EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS sync would allow users to continue using their familiar platform and tools. The Mac users could book rooms in Outlook, and the organization would be able to capture and calculate the utilization information for these rooms in EMS.

  • Users with Outlook mobile app and Outlook web access would benefit from the Exchange-to-EMS sync functionality.

    For example, without the EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS sync, if users changed the meeting time/date in the Outlook mobile app, the meeting time/date would change for the users on their Outlook calendar; however, the time/date for the booking would not change in EMS. With the EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS sync, EMS for Microsoft Exchange would recognize booking edits made from the Outlook mobile app, and after EMS for Microsoft Exchange syncs the edited booking, the booking in EMS would be updated.

  • Users who book self-service meeting rooms on an impromptu basis, such as using a kiosk or a digital room sign that references a Microsoft Exchange calendar, would benefit from the Exchange-to-EMS sync functionality.

    This type of user often books meetings at the last minute from digital room signs or kiosks. With EMS for Microsoft Exchange, these last minute bookings would be synced and captured in EMS.

Considerations

The following list goes over considerations and limitations for EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS Sync:

  • Organizations with hundreds or thousands of self-service spaces are not good candidates for this functionality.

    Native Microsoft Outlook offers no filtering capabilities; therefore, users would not be able to filter spaces as they are able to in EMS by location, capacity, type, or room features, and users would need to know the name of the space they want to reserve. In this scenario, an EMS product, such as EMS for Outlook, would provide a better user experience since users would be able to filter appropriate spaces and save their favorites for quick access.

  • Organizations with spaces that require an approval are not good candidates for the Exchange-to-EMS sync functionality, as this functionality is designed for self-service meeting rooms only.

    If there are spaces that require an approval workflow, the spaces would have to be managed EMS and outside of Exchange applications. This would create confusion with users because they would have to use different applications and processes to access both types of spaces.

  • Organizations that want to enforce booking rules would not find EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS sync a good fit.

    While Exchange can provide limited booking rules, it does not provide the level of granularity that EMS provides. If your organization desires greater control on how users can book spaces, a workflow using an EMS application would be more appropriate.

  • Organizations that want to allow the addition of services to a reservation would not find this functionality useful.

    While EMS allows users to include service orders—such as catering, room setup, and audio-visual equipment—with their reservation, the service order feature will not be available in the self-service workflows through native Microsoft Outlook.

  • Organizations that want custom information with reservations should not use the EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS sync.

    Self-service workflows through native Outlook do not provide the ability to specify custom information about a reservation, nor do they provide the ability to assign a billing code or chargeback information to the reservations. If you require billing or chargeback information for spaces, the EMS for Microsoft Exchange Exchange-to-EMS sync is not an appropriate solution.

EMS-to-Exchange Sync

The EMS-to-Exchange sync allows users to book rooms/resources linked to an Exchange mailbox from EMS applications, and EMS will push these booking updates to Exchange. EMS for Microsoft Exchange can perform an EMS-to-Exchange sync from the following EMS products: 

For information on the types of booking data that can be synced between EMS and Exchange using EMS for Microsoft Exchange, see EMS for Microsoft Exchange Interoperability Between EMS Products and Exchange.

EMS Desktop Client

As of Update 33, reservations created in EMS Desktop Client can be synced with Exchange using EMS for Microsoft Exchange. EMS Desktop Client users can create, edit, and cancel reservations that have rooms linked to Exchange mailboxes. This reservation information will then be pushed to Exchange.

Create Reservations

To assist with creating EMS for Microsoft Exchange reservations in EMS Desktop Client, two options—Standard and Exchange Enabled—have been added to the Reservation Wizard. These options appear on the first screen of the Reservation Wizard above the calendar. The default selection is Standard. Any customers licensed for EMS Integration to Microsoft Exchange will have access to the Standard and Exchange Enabled options.

See Exchange-Enabled Reservations in EMS Desktop Client for more information.

Modify Reservations

Along with creating reservations, users can also modify reservations in EMS Desktop Client and have the edits pushed to Exchange. For information on the types of booking data that can be synced between EMS and Exchange, see Exchange-Enabled Reservations in EMS Desktop Client for more information.

EMS Desktop Client does not support changing a recurrence pattern during an edit. Once users have created a recurring Exchange/ERI reservation, they will not be able to add additional bookings to the reservation.

Cancel Reservations

Users can cancel reservations in EMS Desktop Client and have the updates pushed to Exchange. For information on the types of booking data that can be synced between EMS and Exchange, see Exchange-Enabled Reservations in EMS Desktop Client for more information.

EMS Room Sign App

When EMS Room Sign App is used in conjunction with EMS for Microsoft Exchange, users can create and end a booking that has at least one Exchange mailbox tied to a room. These booking updates will then be pushed to Exchange, and the changes will show on the organizer's and room's Exchange calendars.

ClosedCreate Reservation in the EMS Room Sign App

  • Both authenticated and unauthenticated users can create single, same day reservations from the EMS Room Sign App and have the information synced to EMS and Exchange calendars.

    • When an authenticated user creates a reservation from the EMS Room Sign App, the following occurs:

      • If authentication is enabled, the group link to the everyday user parameter is used to determine the meeting organizer. If the everyday user cannot be determined, the value in the PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox field is used as the meeting organizer.

        If the organizer's Exchange email address cannot be located (for example, the user is unauthenticated), the value in the PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox field will be used to create the booking and display correct availability in Exchange. The PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox value can be set via the PAMConfig.aspx page (Room Sync section) and also via the Exchange Sync parameters in the Platform Services admin UI.

      • All Exchange mailboxes will be invited as attendees to the meeting.

      • All resources that are specified as a feature are added to the reservation ONLY if the resources are configured with an Exchange Resource Mailbox.

      • The room's availability will be correctly updated in Exchange and other EMS products.

      • Rooms that are not configured with Exchange room/resource mailboxes will not be synced with Exchange.

    • When an unauthenticated user creates a reservation from the EMS Room Sign App, the following occurs: 

      • The value in the PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox field will be used as the meeting organizer.

        If the organizer's Exchange email address cannot be located (for example, the user is unauthenticated), the value in the PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox field will be used to create the booking and display correct availability in Exchange. The PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox value can be set via the PAMConfig.aspx page (Room Sync section) and also via the Exchange Sync parameters in the Platform Services admin UI.

      • All Exchange mailboxes will be invited as attendees to the meeting.

      • All resources that are specified as a feature are added to the reservation ONLY if the resources are configured with an Exchange Resource Mailbox.

      • The room's availability will be correctly updated in Exchange and other EMS products.

      • Rooms that are not configured with Exchange room/resource mailboxes will not be synced with Exchange.

ClosedExtend Reservation in the EMS Room Sign App

Users can extend a single day, single room booking as well as a booking that is a part of a multi-location reservation from Room Sign and the changes are updated in Exchange.

ClosedEnd Reservation in the EMS Room Sign App

  • Users can end a booking that has an Exchange mailbox tied to the room and have the updated information synced in EMS and Exchange as follows:  

    • The end time of the booking will be updated in EMS and Exchange for the room/resource calendar and the organizer's calendar (if the organizer is authenticated).

    • The reservation and booking history will be updated in EMS.

    • If the booking is part of an multi-location reservation and the room is the Video Conference host, the booking will not be ended in EMS or removed from the Exchange appointment.

ClosedAuto Cancel Reservation in the EMS Room Sign App

  • A booking will be automatically canceled if auto cancel functionality is enabled and a user fails to check in to a room within the time specified. The cancellation will be synced to Exchange as long as the room is tied to an Exchange mailbox.

EMS Kiosk App

As of Update 33, you can use EMS for Microsoft Exchange with the EMS Kiosk App. To use EMS for Microsoft Exchange with EMS Kiosk App, ensure that Update 33 or later of EMS Platform Services is installed.

With EMS for Microsoft Exchange installed, EMS Kiosk App users can create, end, and cancel bookings that have rooms linked to Exchange mailboxes. These booking updates will then be pushed to Exchange, and the booking information will be reflected in the organizer's and room's Exchange calendars.

Create Reservation in the EMS Kiosk App

  • Both authenticated and unauthenticated users can create single and recurring reservations from the EMS Kiosk App and have the information synced with EMS and Exchange calendars.

    If the organizer's Exchange email address cannot be located (for example, the user is unauthenticated), the value in the PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox field will be used to create the booking and display correct availability in Exchange. The PAM_SyncOrganizerMailbox value can be set via the PAMConfig.aspx page (Room Sync section) and also via the Exchange Sync parameters in the Platform Services admin UI.

If the connection to Exchange is interrupted while a user is creating an EMS for Microsoft Exchange reservation, the reservation will still be created; however, the reservation information will not be pushed to Exchange. The user will also receive an error stating that the booking was created, but there was a problem creating a meeting in the Exchange calendaring system.

End Reservation in the EMS Kiosk App

  • Users can end a single booking that has an Exchange mailbox tied to the room, and the room information will be updated as follows: 

    • The end time of the booking will be updated in EMS and Exchange for the room/resource calendar and the organizer's calendar.

    • The audit history will be updated in EMS.

    • If the booking is part of a recurring reservation, only the booking that was ended will be updated in EMS and Exchange.

Cancel Reservation in the EMS Kiosk App

  • Users can cancel a single (same day) reservation or a single booking from a recurring reservation, and the cancellation will be synced in both EMS and Exchange as follows:

    • The booking status and audit history will be updated in EMS.

    • The booking will no longer appear in the Exchange calendar for the organizer or room.

EMS Web App

When everyday users create a booking using an Exchange-enabled template, EMS Web App communicates with Exchange Integration Web Service (EIWS) to enable EMS for Microsoft Exchange and EIWS. With EMS for Microsoft Exchange, everyday users can create, edit and cancel bookings using an Exchange-enabled template and then have these booking updates pushed to Exchange. This allows organizer and room/resource availability to appear on Exchange calendars.

For detailed information on the types of booking updates that can sync from EMS Web App to Exchange, see EMS for Microsoft Exchange Interoperability Between EMS Products and Exchange.

Considerations for Using EMS for Microsoft Exchange with EMS Web App

If you have implemented EMS for Microsoft Exchange, ensure that your EMS Web App users do not uncheck the Add to Calendar/Send Invitations checkbox when creating reservations. If users uncheck the Add to Calendar/Send Invitations checkbox, the availability for the organizer and room/resource will not sync correctly with Exchange.

EMS for Outlook Add-in

With EMS for Microsoft Exchange, EMS for Outlook users can create, edit, and cancel bookings with rooms/resources tied to an Exchange mailbox and have these bookings synced to both EMS and Exchange. This allows the availability of both the organizer and the room/resource to be reflected correctly in EMS and on Exchange calendars.

For detailed information on the types of booking updates that can sync from EMS for Outlook add-in to Exchange, see EMS for Microsoft Exchange Interoperability Between EMS Products and Exchange.

EMS Mobile App

With EMS for Microsoft Exchange, EMS Mobile App users can create, edit, and cancel bookings with rooms/resources tied to an Exchange mailbox and have these bookings synced to both EMS and Exchange. This allows the availability of both the organizer and the room/resource to be reflected correctly in EMS and on Exchange calendars.

For detailed information on the types of booking updates that can sync from EMS Mobile App to Exchange, see EMS for Microsoft Exchange Interoperability Between EMS Products and Exchange.

Benefits for Using EMS-to-Exchange Sync

The following are benefits of using the EMS-to-Exchange sync option of EMS for Microsoft Exchange:

  • Allows integration of third-party technology (e.g., video conference [VC] device or display panels) to a booking in EMS by linking to a Microsoft Exchange resource mailbox

  • Automatically includes fixed-room resources in the room booking (e.g., collaboration devices) through the Microsoft Exchange resource mailboxes

  • Allows integration of non-fixed resources (e.g., Mobile Microsoft Surface Hubs) during the booking process