Kin Lane

Rapleaf Ends Conference Room Abuse with Google Calendar + Arduino

Consumer information technology company, Rapleaf, uses Google Calendar to schedule meetings in their nine conference rooms, but despite this organization they still suffer from Conference Room Abuse!"

Conference Room Abuse is where people 2 or more people randomly grab a conference without any regard to the schedule for the room. Its a problem many companies face.

To solve the problem Rapleaf designed the Roominator, an open-source system of hardware and software that helps deal with conference room scheduling.

Bryan Duxbury of Rapleaf talks about what went into the Roominator:

The hardware consists of two parts: a display unit that's posted outside of each conference room, and a controller unit that's located in Rapleaf's wiring closet. The display unit shows the current and upcoming reservations and an LED status indicator that can tell you from a distance whether a room is good to grab. It also has a pair of buttons - one to make an ad-hoc reservation and one to cancel the current reservation. The controller unit interfaces with all the displays to distribute power and data, both of which run over a single standard Cat5e cable. Both the controller and the displays are Arduino-based.

The software component is a Rails web site that allows for configuration and integrates with Google Calendar. Reservations made via Google Calendar are sync'd with the Roominator, and vice-versa. The controller unit polls the web site for the information it should pass to the displays. The cool thing is its all open-source. You can build your own Roominator for your company. All the source code and schematics are on Github.