Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Direct Booking- a resource for outlook meeting



What is Direct Booking
Before Exchange, if you needed to use a resource, such as a conference room or audiovisual equipment, you would contact a person, who would check a schedule and tell you whether the resource was available. The direct-booking mechanism eliminates the need to contact another person to check a resource's availability and reserve a time slot in a resource's schedule; direct booking schedules an appointment directly into the Outlook Calendar.

How Direct Booking Works
Outlook perform some steps when organizer designates a mailbox as a resource in a meeting request, first, Outlook reads configuration information from the designated mailbox to determine whether to attempt direct booking. If you didn't select the Automatically accept meeting requests and process cancellations option, Outlook sends a meeting request to the resource mailbox, just as it would for any other attendee. If you selected this option, the meeting organizer's Outlook client attempts to book the resource as follows: If, in addition to the first option, you selected the Automatically decline conflicting meeting requests option, Outlook reads the free/busy information for the mailbox's calendar and uses this information to determine whether the resource is available for the date and time requested. If the resource is available, Outlook writes the appointment directly to the resource's calendar. If you selected the Automatically decline recurring meeting requests option, Outlook will decline any request that's recurring.
The Direct Booking feature uses logic coded in Outlook when adding Exchange mailboxes to a meeting request, this feature has been available since Outlook 2000. Direct booking occurs when the Exchange mailbox is added to a meeting request as a resource, the meeting organizer has the permission to write to the resource mailbox calendar and the resource mailbox MAPI attribute PR_PROCESS_MEETING_REQUESTS is set to TRUE, that is the case when mailbox created as a resource mailbox in Exchange server.
In Exchange Server 2003, we need to manually deploy as Auto Accept event sink to automate response from resource mailbox, this logic is added automatically when we create a resource mailbox in Exchange 2003 so we do not require Direct Booking code in Outlook Client.

In Outlook 2010 still we can book resources directly, however, the feature is disabled by default. Unfortunately, Outlook 2010 doesn’t prevent requests or warn users that resource room requests will fail. The meeting request is sent as though the resource will respond as a user does. Unless an administrator opens the resource mailbox and responds to the booking request manually, the request will remain pending with no response to the meeting organizer. The resource just doesn’t get booked when you try to use Direct Booking. If you intend to use Direct Booking in Outlook 2010, you must enable it. To enable Direct Booking in Outlook 2010, you need to edit the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Options\Calendarregistry entry.

Direct Booking Ruses
Available free/busy information. Direct booking uses free/busy information to determine a resource's availability. Exchange stores up to 12 months of free/busy information for mailboxes in a hidden public folder
Outlook free/busy information. Because the direct-booking function relies on free/busy data, you want to publish the maximum amount. By default, Outlook clients publish 2 months of free/busy data (the current month and next month).
Recurring meeting requests. Recurring meeting requests, occurs when you update a recurring meeting request to lengthen the recurrence period.
Delegates. If the assistant sends a meeting request on behalf of his or her manager and successfully reserves a resource through direct booking, the meeting request arrives in attendees' inboxes from the manager.
Resources field. Exchange, implements the direct-booking function. The only way Outlook knows to try to direct book a resource is if the meeting organizer places the resource in the resources field of the meeting request form.

 Some time we are facing some issues with users such as :

Issue 
Cannot directly book a resource for this meeting.

Troubleshooting steps

  • 1.    Verified the mailbox setting who trying to access the mailbox.
    2.    Verified the Calendar settings on the room mailbox.
    3.    Verified the calendar meeting functionality by using webmail it started working without any issues.
    4.    Verified the calendar meeting functionality by using outlook 2010 in different computer it is working without any issues.
Resolution

Method 1: -

Configure the Windows Registry settings on all affected client machines to disable the Direct booking on the below path,

·         Locate and then select the following subkey in the registry:
·     HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Options\Calendar
·         On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
·         Type EnableDirectBooking, and then press ENTER.
·         Right-click EnableDirectBooking, and then click Modify.
·         In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.
·         Exit Registry Editor.
·         Start Outlook.

Method 2: -

Create new Public Folder database in Exchange 2010.

Address the resource mailbox/Email address under Required or Optional field instead of Resources field.

When you type the Room calendar name in the “To” Field it will be added into resource field automatically

To change the Resource mailbox name from Resource Field to Required /Optional Field, Click Resource Scheduling
And then, bottom of the page you will find “Add Attendees” Click on it, and then change the Resource mailbox name from Resource Field to Required/Optional Field.
 Doing the above change user may miss the Meeting Location so if they want they can specify the location field by manually typing it.
 

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