Friday, July 18, 2014

Set Up your SmartCloud Meetings meeting room in the SmartCloud calendar

I am an IBM SmartCloud Notes and IBM SmartCloud Meetings user who works mostly remotely from my colleagues and customers. Therefore, when I create meeting invitations in Notes or iNotes, I like to add my SmartCloud Meetings meeting room and call-in information to virtually all of my meeting invitations. In fact, I do it even for face-to-face meetings because these days you just can't assume that nobody will want to attend remotely.

Including meeting room and call-in information in a meeting invitation is one-click easy. Well, almost. I have had new SmartCloud users try it and fail, then ask me how I do it. Their problem turns out to be that, before you can do it, you have to define a meeting room. 

The problem is that, where Sametime Meetings users are expected (and presumably taught how) to set up their own meeting rooms, SmartCloud Meetings users have a meeting room predefined for them and are expected to use that one meeting room exclusively. So nobody teaches them how to define a meeting room. After all, if their meeting room is predefined, they don't need to define one, right? 

 Er, wrong. When new SmartCloud Notes or iNotes users try to include meeting room information in a meeting invitation, they are presented with an empty list of meetings, as illustrated below, and no information as to what they should do about it. Where is their predefined meeting room?
Because it's the only available option, they try clicking New, which brings up the form below, which presents two problems:
  • It prompts them for the Meeting URL, which they don't know how to provide. 
  • It does not prompt them for the Meeting ID, which they also need and also don't know how to provide.
What nobody tells the new user is: 
  • That one needs to gather the information for this screen beforehand; and
  • Where to get this information.
And there's another problem. If the user tries to navigate directly between the meeting invitation screen and the screen where the meeting information appears, the one screen closes before the other one opens. The user needs to navigate in such a way that both screens remain open so that she can easily copy/paste the information. In other words, the user needs to open the meetings dashboard in one tab or browser window and the calendar app in another.

Here is what the user can do to easily gather the needed information and use it to create a meeting room:
  1. Log into IBM SmartCloud, then navigate to the SmartCloud Meetings dashboard. (Click Apps, Meetings (New) in the Ribbon or, if your organization is "newish" to SmartCloud, it might just say "Meetings".) 
  2. There one sees that a meeting room has indeed been predefined. There, too, are the Meeting ID and Meeting URL.
  3. Optionally (but recommended), set a password for the predefined meeting room.
  4. Leave the Meetings dashboard screen open while you open a meeting invitation. Do this as follows: 
    1. Click the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business tab in the browser to open the original SmartCloud landing page. Or open a new browser window and connect to SmartCloud again from that window.
    2. Then click the "Sign in" link again to open SmartCloud again in yet another tab or window. Result: Three browser tabs and/or windows are open: The SmartCloud landing page, the Meetings page, and the user's Home page. The user can now copy/paste between screens.
  5. Under this new browser tab or window, navigate back to the iNotes calendar and create a new meeting invitation. There, click the links again to return to the New Online Meeting dialog. Now do the following:
    1. Change "Select service" to "IBM SmartCloud Meetings". This causes an additional field (Meeting ID) to appear in the form.
    2. In "Meeting room name", enter any name you want for your meeting room.
    3. In "Meeting URL", paste the URL from the "Your meeting link" field on the Meetings dashboard (under the Meetings browser tab).
    4. In "Meeting ID", paste the eight-digit number from the "Meeting ID" field on the Meetings dashboard.
    5. In "Password" enter or paste the meeting room password if you set one.
    6. In "Call-in information" enter the dialing information to access your bridge or conference line. If one has to dial a phone number followed later by another number, such as a PIN, a conference bridge or an extension, separate the two sequences with either one or more commas (",") or a semi-colon (";"). If the last set of numbers requires a pound symbol ("#") at the end, add it here. That way the invitee doesn't have to dial it manually at meeting time.
      1. Each comma inserts a two-second pause into the dialing sequence. One comma is usually sufficient, but you can insert more than one for a longer pause. 
      2. A semi-colon inserts a "wait", where the numbers following the semi-colon aren't dialed until you manually tell the phone to dial them. 
      3. On smartphones a soft button typically appears on-screen that, when touched, initiates the waiting number sequence. 
    7. The completed dialog looks similar to this:
    8. Click OK. The newly defined meeting room appears in the list. It is selected. Details about it appear in the bottom portion of the dialog.
    9. Click OK to close the dialog. The meeting room and call-in information appear in the meeting invitation.
  6. Either complete or cancel the meeting invitation. You're finished.
From now on, the newly defined meeting room will appear in the list, preselected, in the Reserve Meeting Room dialog, and you can just click Online Meeting, then OK, to include its information in a meeting invitation. 

For some meetings you don't really need a meeting room; rather, all you need is call-in information. Here is how to set up your call-in information in SmartCloud so you can insert it into meeting invitations with a single mouse click:
  1. Log into SmartCloud and open your mail or calendar window. If you are already logged into SmartCloud and you have open tabs that have unsaved edits, save them before you proceed further, because when you save your preferences in step 5 below, all open tabs will close and unsaved edits will be discarded.
  2. Click More in the Mail or Calendar Taskbar, then click Preferences. The Preferences page will appear under another tab in the mail or calendar window.
  3. In the navigation (left) pane of the Preferences page, expand Calendar, then select Meeting. The contents of the main (right) pane will change accordingly.
  4. Under Conference Call Information enter your calling number. Use commas (",") to introduce two-second delays or semi-colons (";") to introduce waits, as previously described.
  5. Click Save and Close. Click OK in the warning dialog that appears. All SmartCloud tabs will close, then the Mail or Calendar tab from which you initiated the above steps will reopen.
Now, whenever you create a meeting, you can add your call-in information by clicking the "Call-in Number" link in iNotes or checking the "Include conference call information in the Location" checkbox in Notes.
Copyright 2014 Rob Kirkland, Rockteam

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