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We have conference rooms set up in Exchange to automatically accept meeting requests.

However, our users have iPhones, and there is not apparently any way for them to see whether a room is available before they request the room.

Is there any facility for our iPhone users to be able to see that information?

The only way I can think of to do this would be to configure a separate Exchange account referencing each conference room and only synchronize the calendar to their phones. The problem I see with this is primarily that they users can directly enter/delete/modify items on the calendars. I don't want them to do that.

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I completely rewrote your question. I think this way it's likely to get more eyes and be clearer. –  wfaulk May 10 '12 at 18:05
    
Thanks! Looks fine to me. –  tcv May 10 '12 at 18:11
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3 Answers

@tcv We have the exact same situation. The good part of this way of room booking is that the appointment is always also in the bookers own calendar. He/she will update this when something changes(meeting canceled). Only this way the room will also be available again.

The way you do it now through ical(icalx.com for example) makes the calendars really public available. If you don't have anything to hide, this is ofcourse no problem. I use icalx since MS stopped the publishing feature to your Live account from Outlook. Also I think the sync only works from Outlook client!? So if no one logs in this room account and opens Outlook client, it won't be updated!?

An alternative is using the app Team calendar(https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/teamcalendar/id533928904?mt=8). This is not free, but works great. Although we all got iPhones from the employer I'm using an Android, because I need/want dual SIM. I did not found a similar app for android yet.

Success,

Florisz

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Alright, I think I have this sorted out.

In short, I wanted the users to be able to check the schedule of the conference room from outside... away from Outlook, away from OWA. The company is pretty standardized on iPhones and a couple of Androids. Using OWA would work but it would be brutal on the tiny screen to create an appointment and check the free/busy information after having added the Room resource.

I found that I could publish the calendars as iCal (Exchange 2010 SP1). I created a policy to obscure some of the details of the appointments and then put the rooms online. Now people can either:

  1. Subscribe to the calendar via iPhone or Android's Calendar Sync.

  2. Pull up the calendar via a web browser.

In the end, they can be away from OWA and Outlook and still be able to check the conference room BEFORE they invite it to book the room.

Yay!

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I feel like I'm misunderstanding the question, but:

You should be able to configure permissions on the conference room accounts so that users can see the rooms' calendars without having write access to them.

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So, you're saying, for example: Give a user Read Only permissions on the user object within AD? Or do you mean Share the Calendar to people with RO permissions from within Outlook? I'm worried that if I say, scope down a user to RO access they won't be able to schedule the conference room via the Booking Attendant. –  tcv May 10 '12 at 17:53
    
The latter. I don't think that that will prevent the room from auto-accepting, but I don't know for sure. Maybe you could try it with a test user? –  wfaulk May 10 '12 at 17:54
    
I can, but here's the problem: Let's take a user, Peter, who wants to be able to view the calendar on his iPhone. I open up the calendar in Outlook and share it with Peter. Peter still wouldn't be able to view it on his iPhone because the iPhone won't open shared calendars. If I create a new Exchange account, then my only choice (I think!) is to connect the phone to the Room's account which would give Peter complete access. –  tcv May 10 '12 at 17:57
    
Ah. I missed that part of the question. –  wfaulk May 10 '12 at 18:00
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