Introducing our January 2016 Product Release

PG Bartlett | December 18, 2015

We’re excited to soon deliver the features and enhancements most requested by you, our customers, in the next release of EMS Software. Scheduled for availability at the end of this month, the January 2016 release will deliver additional capabilities to our ‘expert’ users — those of you who spend several hours a day in our software.

Let’s take a look.

Easy deployment of Desktop

As an expert user, you spend nearly all of your time in our ‘client’ software. Through the client, you have visibility into and control over everything that goes on in the space you manage. Until the January release, installing and updating the desktop client either required you to have administrative privileges, which many IT departments prohibit, or required IT time and resources to incorporate the desktop client in standard distributions.

The January release of EMS simplifies installation through our new ‘easy deployment’ approach. Installation of the desktop client will be as easy as installing an app: just point and click to install. Users can install EMS themselves, and can do so without administrative privileges. Updates will happen automatically, but each EMS administrator will control when the update occurs. When your organization is ready to deploy a new version of desktop client, the EMS administrator can easily make it happen.

Installation of the desktop client will be as easy as installing an app: just point and click to install.

User Defined Field (UDF) enhancements

In order to handle requests for space or services, many event managers have more questions for people who enter the requests than our standard software asks. For example, you may want to know if the requester will need technical assistance to start their session; UDFs provide a mechanism to gather additional information.

However, filling out UDFs can be confusing for everyday users. And because of some limitations of UDFs prior to the January release, they could be even more confusing than what ought to be necessary.

So in the January release, we’re adding two important improvements to UDFs:

  1. Dependent UDFs: you will be able to show or suppress a UDF based on the user’s response to a previous UDF. For example, you could set up a UDF so that it appears only if the user’s previous answer was “yes” — if the user answers “no,” then the UDF will not appear. (In previous releases, all UDFs appeared whether they remained relevant or not.)
  2. Multi-select UDFs: when the user is allowed to choose multiple items (such as a list of additional types of equipment that the user may need for a meeting), you’ll be able to group these together into a group of checkboxes. (Previously, each item would require a separate UDF, which would make the form look more daunting than it should have been.)

Booking check-in

Sometimes meeting hosts don’t use the space they reserved. In organizations where meeting space or workspace is in high demand, or where the reservation is for a significant period of time, the lost utilization of space adds up to a lot of waste.

So in the January release, you will be able to set up each room to require that the meeting host check in to the space. When the time comes to check in, the host will receive an email with a link they can click to check in. Alternatively, the host can check in via the touch-screen room sign (if available).

You’ll also be able to set up what happens if the host has failed to check in more than 10 minutes (or whatever time you want) after the meeting starts. You may want to settle for a warning — at least for the first few months — and then automatically free up the space so that someone else can use it.

The result? Better utilization of your space and happier users.

The EMS Software January release enables better space utilization and happier users.

Notification rule enhancements

You can set up EMS to issue notifications about almost anything, such as new reservations, new service orders, and changes to existing reservations or service orders.

In previous releases of EMS, there were limitations in its notifications capability that could result in sending notifications to too many people, too few people, or too far in advance. With the January release, we’re enhancing the notifications capability in several areas:

  1. Service orders – previously, you could set up a notification to a service group, such as catering. But in the January release, you’ll be able to set up notifications at a level below the service group (such as “bakery”), or even down to the resource level (such as “donuts”). In other words, you’ll be able to target your notifications precisely, so that no one receives irrelevant notifications.
  2. Meeting host – previously, notifications could only go to people or groups you specified by their user ID, but if you wanted to set up an automatic notification to, say, the meeting host, you would have to send this notification manually. In the January release, you’ll be able to specify recipients by role, not just by ID, so that you can send notifications to the ‘meeting host’ or ‘event coordinator.’
  3. Hours – formerly, you could only send notifications one day in advance, but in the January release, you can send notifications as late as one hour in advance. This reduces clutter for operational people who may want to receive notifications only that affect their work that day.

Automated report generation and delivery

If you want a report out of EMS, you have to go get it. And that means that you have to remember to get it, how to get it, as well as have access to the client. For example, chances are you have to produce a room setup worksheet every day so that your facilities team knows which rooms need to be serviced and how to set them up. Pulling that setup worksheet involves a manual process.

In the January release, you’ll be able to set up EMS to produce reports automatically, on a daily or weekly schedule, at the time of day you select, and delivered via email to the email addresses you select.

Not only will this new feature save time for operational staff and administrators, it will also eliminate the need for people to use the client if their only purpose is to regularly run reports.

Stay Tuned. These Features Are Coming in January

The release of this next version is January 29, 2016.

On-demand webinars are available now to see demonstrations of the new features and enhancements available in the January release:

PG Bartlett
written by PG Bartlett, Vice President of Product

As EMS Software’s Vice President of Product, PG has responsibility for product strategy, product management, product development and product support. His focus is to deliver maximum value to customers through software that’s simple, fun and empowering. PG is dedicated to excellence and presents a user-focused and experience-driven vision for EMS products.

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