In 2016, we innovated at a furious pace. We introduced the EMS Mobile App, added highly-requested features to our Desktop Client, and overhauled both the EMS Web App and the EMS for Outlook add-in.
This year, we’re working diligently on our Spring 2017 Release which will refine many of our existing capabilities and add some interesting new capabilities.
There are four key areas we’re targeting for the Spring 2017 Release. Let’s take a look.
For 2017, we’re increasing the investment in our integrations with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. On the Outlook side, we’re adding many small refinements that will make your experience even faster and easier. On the Exchange side, we’ll be introducing two-way syncing between EMS and Microsoft Exchange. With two-way syncing, administrative users who set up rooms as ‘resources’ in Exchange will gain a couple of benefits. First, they’ll be able to use EMS to gather room utilization data from Exchange and aggregate it with data from the rooms that EMS manages directly. This means that users will be able to continue booking rooms through Outlook while gaining the benefit of EMS’s vast reporting capabilities.
With these additions, administrative users should continue using EMS to manage any rooms or spaces where they need business rules to provide an extra measure of control over Outlook. For example:
- Who can reserve which rooms or spaces
- How many rooms or spaces of a certain type the user can reserve at one time
- How far in advance the user is required or allowed to reserve
- Whether users can reserve directly or must enter a request that someone else approves
Another benefit of two-way synching is to improve the synchronization of reservations between Exchange and EMS. Today, synching is only one way, from EMS to Exchange, where EMS updates Exchange when EMS registers a new or changed reservation. With two-way synching, if a user books through EMS and later changes the reservation outside of the view of EMS (for example, through Outlook on a mobile device), the two-way sync will update EMS with the change. (However, if a user changes the reservation outside of the view of EMS, then EMS cannot enforce any business rules related to that change.)
We released our first EMS Mobile App in 2016, so it’s currently at a 1.0 level of functionality. This year, we’re going to add new functions such as:
- Additional filters to make it easier and faster to search for rooms in a particular building, floor, or area.
- Push notifications so that users are reminded about meetings or prompted to check into a reservation.
- Additional support for single sign-on (SSO) to better meet the wide variety of authentication systems our customers use.
We’re also planning visual design enhancements to make the mobile app more intuitive and elegant, in addition to improving performance so that it’s snappier, whether you’re browsing existing reservations or creating new ones.
Our web interface provides a broad range of functionality to support the needs of our large and diverse customer base. In 2016, we renamed it to ‘EMS Web App’ and completely overhauled the user interface to make it faster to learn and easier to use.
But we’re not finished. Working with our customers, we’re finding new opportunities to improve the Web App’s functionality and user experience even further. In fact, we’ve made many improvements already, and we have many more stacked up to work on over the year.
For many years, EMS has offered an API that our customers and third-party integrators can use to connect EMS to other systems. This year, we’ll start exposing a new RESTful API that will make EMS easier to integrate with while improving performance.
Moreover, we’ll start using the same API for our front end products, like our mobile app and our digital room sign app (also known as ‘Glance’). This means that our customers and partners will benefit from continual improvements in functionality, performance, and stability.
We’ll continue to support our old API for many years so that our partners have plenty of time to make the transition to the new API. And we’re working closely with our partners to make sure our new API meets their needs.
We’ve got plenty of other refinements on our list, each of which will smooth out existing functionality by supporting more use cases or making EMS easier to use. Stay tuned.
To understand what guides the EMS product roadmap, read our Principles and Focus blog post.
Get started now to learn how EMS can help your organization.
* This blog post contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions such as those associated with developing and delivering new functionality and new releases of our software. Any unreleased services or features referenced in this or other blog posts, presentations, press releases, or public statements are not currently available and may not be delivered on time or at all. Customers who seek to purchase our services should make their purchase decisions based on the features that are currently available. We assume no obligation and do not intend to update these forward-looking statements.