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After all, digitalisation is a lot about making things easier, more efficient and better. A paper calendar with a pen outside a bookable room, such as a conference room or a Makerspace, is neither effective nor very smart (unless you are sitting near that room). Well, such a simple thing as a reservation system solves the problem. Therefore, I was going to show you how you can put together a simple system for a cheap money, to give everyone the same opportunity to book a room or any resource.
In our organization we use Outlook and although calendars can be set up for resources, mobile users (phone/iPad) will not access those calendars. It is also not possible to make the calendars public, so I cannot retrieve data from them. In addition, I want a bus-easy setup that everyone can get started with (see previous article about the 5-minute rule). Since it is not sensitive information, I also want a simple login with username and password. Therefore, I have placed the reservation on our blog network, so that everyone can log in with already existing user information.
I have a setup
The beauty of this solution is that all parts are really separate from each other. You do not need to use all parts. It also does not require specific hardware. Take what you have.
From left to right (in the picture above), the booking system consists of a wordpress site with a plugin for booking management. When you make a booking on the page, the booking will be sent to a Google calendar. You as an administrator can of course make the booking directly in the Google calendar as well. Then that booking will be synced back to the booking system.
Finally, I have a screen outside the current room showing the calendar and whether it is free (green) or busy (red). You can use any screen that can load a web page. In our case, we have a bunch of old iPads that are no longer used in the business that can be reused.
Booking System - WordPress + Weba Booking
The booking system consists of a wordpress site with the Weba Booking extension installed. Weba Booking costs at the time of writing $69.
As a theme, I run the default WordPress theme Twenty Sixteen with a few simpler CSS -fix, such as bookable times to appear as green and busy times to appear as red.
For each room or resource, you can set up your own Google calendar and link it to Webba Booking. Everything is well documented.
So what meets the user is a login page and once they have logged in, they will come directly to boking. There they are allowed to choose the room or resource as well as the date. Then all the times come and they goat for the times they want. Once they have booked, they also receive a confirmation email with an ics file, so they can also enter it directly into any private calendar.
On you can see the instructional video if you want to see how the booking is made.
As I wrote above, you get to create a Google calendar per resource or room. This should also be public, in order to be able to be read by the screen (in the next step), so be sure not to write sensitive details in the booking.
Info screen - Raspberry Pi + Python
The Info screen is a modified version of a previous project I've done, for my own personal info screen located outside my office. The program is written in Python and runs on a Raspberry Pi, which costs no more than about 350 SEK. But, of course, you can run it on any computer, as long as you can install Python and its components on it.
The program loads the Google calendar every 30 seconds and creates a web page of that information that it uploads to your web server via SFTP.
I have posted the code on GitHub on
Then you can use any digital device capable of loading a web page. Since it is not a heavy side, you can use the right old hardware. The page reloads itself once a minute.
If you have any questions, just ask them in the comments field or via social media.