Managing Your Places & Spaces: The evolution from just conference room booking to a multi industry workplace management solution.
It’s been almost 10 years since Roomzilla initiated its first conference room booking system aiming at solving Cambridge Innovation Center’s challenges with its growing needs for common spaces usage within its locations. Originally designed as a simple desktop system to schedule meetings, and display information about them on digital signage hardware, Roomzilla evolved tremendously throughout the past few years. It’s become a workplace management system helping its users to manage office resources (incl. rooms, desks, equipment, etc.), integrating seamlessly with existing calendars such as Google Calendar, or even helping navigate through the whole space by introducing interactive floorplans functionality. But the road wasn’t always paved and smooth and the evolution took place gradually by always talking to clients and responding to their changing needs and expectations. 2020 hasn’t been any different and the global pandemic has yet again made us change course and adjust to the new market realities expanding the product into new directions.
Unlike many contemporary startups, Roomzilla wasn’t created in Silicon Valley, but in Cambridge, MA. At first our meeting room booking system was meant to meet the needs of Cambridge Innovation Center (also known as CIC). With a growing number of new locations in the US (incl. Boston, Philadelphia, Saint Louis, and Miami) CIC stumbled upon a challenge to efficiently manage their spaces especially those consisting of common meeting rooms, phone booths, and common spaces usage. Basically, managing big coworking areas became unbearable without a proper room reservation system. This is where Roomzilla stepped in and by closely cooperating with CIC and aiming to solve real life problems, the system was brought to life. Battle-proven and verified by CIC’ers, shortly enough the appointment scheduling software proved itself so well, that other companies in Boston and around the city began using it. Among first users/clients were MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Harvard’s laboratories. That helped kick off the global expansion as well.
As more and more companies from and around the Boston area found Roomzilla’s solution useful and helpful, international inquiries started to come in. Users familiar with the system while travelling the world for business purposes started to spread positive feedback in places lacking a conference room booking system. Without any paid marketing efforts and relying only on word-of-mouth recommendation more and more prospects started to show initial interest in the software. That’s when Roomzilla started to set its footprint in Europe with the United Kingdom and Netherlands as the initial markets. Nowadays, our clients come from 20 different countries and 5 continents.
The core tenets
The two main tenets the initial Roomzilla meeting room scheduler was built upon were simplicity and easeof use. It was created to make people’s lives easier and less stressful from the very beginning. Simple as that, but in fact it’s much more complicated than you could imagine. Most probably anyone who has ever worked for a larger company knows the feeling when there are no rooms available when you have a team meeting or a prospective new client is visiting your office. Moreover, endless “fights” between coworkers and different departments over a conference room, eat away at precious time that should be dedicated to creating added value to the company rather than be wasted on pointless arguments. Last but not least, probably everyone who’s been working for a big company stumbled upon an issue of people over occupying places and not showing up for a meetings they’ve scheduled before-hand alongside the conference room. These were the initial main problems Roomzilla had to deal with,making sure that the solution is efficient, simple enough and easy to use for everyone. So, by introducing :
- integrations with Google Calendar and Office 365,
- check-in for the meetings and auto-delete functionalities,
- digital signage display module and
- simple desktop timeline reservations visualization
the above-mentioned problems were finally solved. One milestone achieved, but still far away from becoming the one-stop-shop for managing one’s workplace efficiently.
The workplace management system
Since handling the initial challenges, the system has been continuously updated with new features and functionalities making the life of its users easier. New upgrades continued, adding features such as sound notifications to digital signage hardware and more sophisticated reporting systems stood out helping companies optimize their space usage even further. By closely cooperating with existing clients and listening to their needs as well as by observing emerging trends from the market we’ve been developing the platform leaning more and more towards a holistic workplace management system – a creature way beyond the simple conference room booking software we started with. Here at Roomzilla we simply want to create everything one potentially needs to run their workplace more efficiently. That’s why we’ve decided to expand our offering beyond not only the room booking system. Adding interactive floor plans as well as different kinds of resources such as office equipment, classrooms or gym equipment to bookable resources’ list were some of the major changes to the product; however, development never ends, and on our roadmap we still have community management, events management, visitors management and indoor navigation features to be released in the near future.
Additionally, the recent pandemic caused another pivot in Roomzilla’s business strategy. When most companies started to put further emphasis on employee safety, we introduced features like contactless check-in and active floor maps with the ability to draw desks and cubicles on it for managers to better allocate their staff, keeping social distancing guidelines in place. All focused on ensuring employees’ safety in the ‘new normal’ world.
From one simple conference room booking system to workplace management software – that’s the road we’ve been following for the last 10 years. Having to adjust the strategy along the way many times and still far away from reaching the end goal though. The road never ends, but the goal is clear – making people work easier & more safely with our workplace management system in the ‘new normal’ world.