Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become an easy way for different applications to talk to each other. Now, more and more applications expose their data to the public to help extend the capabilities and consequently, increase the value of the product.
ecobook is no different. With its wide variety of APIs, ecobook’s API for meeting room and desk booking now allows third-party applications to connect with it and exchange data. In this article, we will cover the different types of systems that connect with ecobook’s APIs to exchange data and increase the user experience of our customers.
Here we discuss how customers use ecobook’s APIs for their operations.
Schools and Universities need to create their class schedules and rosters before the beginning of each term. This is a critical set of activities that is time-consuming and complex. Most timetabling systems can carry out this complex task of considering various inputs, rules, and constraints. Once it is done, users need to go in and make some amendments.
Once the schedule is done, the information on which classrooms and labs are being used is created.
With the assistance of ecobook’s APIs, these systems can now book the spaces within ecobook and check for conflicts. This helps teachers, students, and administrative staff, who may not have access to the timetabling system to look at the schedules and facilities. This helps them with their ad-hoc bookings that happen during the term.
Many large organizations require data on space utilization and occupancy to be reported in a common, central dashboard for management. Also, the Information Technology departments would like to extract information for their records keeping, SIEM, audit, and compliance needs. While ecobook provides data analytics information in the reports, they may not be sufficient for the management required information.
For such cases, the APIs, provide a useful interface for extracting data from ecobook for analysis. Information on the data and analytics of the booking system can be extracted for any kind of usage.
Today, the creation of a company-wide app that can help employees access all its information systems is getting very popular. Super Apps as they are called provide a common app for employees to access a wide variety of services from requesting leave, making claims, ordering food, and looking up events or classes to booking meeting rooms. The underlying idea is to not have multiple apps for each set of services, common authentication, and security features and control while creating and retaining a common corporate brand experience.
With Ecobook’s APIs, companies can create their user interface for booking systems within the super app, while replying to the API’s capabilities to implement all the business rules. By relying on Ecobook’s APIs, companies create their own branded booking system without having to recreate the entire system from the ground up.
Digital signage is becoming very popular in large organizations spread over multiple buildings and labyrinthine floors. Disseminating information to occupants helps users navigate the space easily for their next appointment.
While there are plenty of signage systems in the market, they are all standalone systems that provide aesthetic appeal but are not interactive or real-time.
With ecobook’s APIs, companies extend the booking information and display them on the screen at key points to users. At the same time, they can provide valuable information on the availability of the space through maps or a simple table listing.
Organizations now use sensors to keep track of their environments. One of the main sensors used in offices and buildings is the occupancy sensor. Occupancy sensors detect the presence in a room or desk and can report to a platform with the real-time status of those spaces.
Ecobook’s APIs allow third-party systems to be able to capture the information on sensors and make decisions on retaining or releasing the bookings so that they are available for others to use. The available APIs allow for auto-releasing of bookings so that space usage is maximized.
These comprise 2 types of use cases. Internal charges and external monetization.
In certain organizations, there are policies on facility usage where the usage time is charged to the cost center of the department making the booking. Here, it is required to consolidate the booking hours and post to a financial system for charges incurred. In most cases, the booking system administrator would export the bookings via spreadsheet and then pass it on to finance. The finance then does a manual update of all the cost centers before updating the financial system. This can be tedious and error-prone.
The ecobook API provides the capability to not only extract the booking information but also manage the user’s department and cost centers for each data mapping. This automates the whole process while eliminating errors through manual updates.
The second type of use case is to have users make payments for the usage of rooms. This is typically for external users who are charged on a per-use model.
In such cases, the APIs can be used to extract information for payment processing. The ability to monetize spaces by requiring the users to pay via PayPal stripe or other global payment platforms provides convenience and automation for a critical business operation.
Building Management Systems
With the increased focus on sustainability, energy conservation, and compliance with ESG standards, organizations are looking to limit the consumption of electricity by controlling the lighting and air conditioning systems based on booking usage. Integration with access controls also provides automated security for controlled spaces.
Ecobook’s APIs have been used to extract information from bookings to be mapped and sent to building management systems to instruct the switching on or off the lighting and air-conditioning systems and also granting or revoking permissions to the door access control systems. Typical BMS systems are highly controlled with limited access to third-party systems to directly send them instructions. With a well-defined API, the BMS consultant can build their internal scripts to extract data from ecobook and control their systems. This removes the need for an ecobook to understand the BMS vendor’s technology.
While ecobook relies on directory services for authentication, in most large organizations, the directory services are only used for that. Additional information such as telephone numbers, divisions, departments, sections, and designations are stored in Human Resources platforms. To be able to provide complete information to the ecobook, and to be able to generate comprehensive reports, this additional information is needed.
With ecobook’s APIs, organizations can connect with their HR systems to pass this information to complete the user’s profile in ecobook.
Asset tracking is a critical aspect of many large corporations. All assets, including meeting rooms and desks, resource are tagged as financial assets. These are tracked in either an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or a Facilities Management (FM) system.
With ecobook’s APIs, this information can be populated in the system so that they can be tagged and tracked for usage and record keeping.
APIs provide a critical interface for different systems to talk to each other. For ecobook API, it provides unparalleled capability to extend to various other systems to connect and exchange information to provide a seamless experience to the organization.