There is a little known tool called the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Web Scheduler that allows organizations supporting users that don’t run Outlook or don’t have the Outlook Add-ins for OCS, to schedule Live Meetings or Conference calls. This is a great tool if you support Lotus Notes users or other non-Microsoft Outlook based clients that want to leverage OCS Audio/Video Conferencing via Microsoft Office Communicator or Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
From the MS site: The OCS Web Scheduler is a 64-bit tool for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. It provides a Web-based alternative to the add-in for the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client for the purpose of scheduling a meeting using Office Communications Server 2007 R2. It also provides a browser-based conference management experience that includes operations such as:
- Scheduling a new Live Meeting conference or conference call.
- Viewing and modifying details of an existing conference.
- Listing all existing user schedules of a Microsoft Office conference.
- Deleting an existing conference.
- Sending an e-mail invitation to conference participants by using a configured SMTP mail server.
- Joining an existing conference.
Deploying the Web Scheduler is straight forward. A full readme file with instructions comes with the installer so be sure to read this as it contains all the info you need about getting it installed. The Web Scheduler can be in installed on any OCS Server that hosts OCS R2 Web Components. As well, you will require an SMTP server like Exchange Server for sending the email invitations that the Web Scheduler creates.
Once you install the msi you will need to do a couple of things:
- Activate the Web Scheduler by running an LCS command.
- Define the SMTP server for the Web Scheduler to use. This can be done by an included VBS or by modifying a config file on the OCS server hosting the Web Scheduler.
Here is a quick tour of the experience. The default sign on page will be https://yourdomain/Conf/Ext/Login.aspx
After entering your credentials you are taken to this page where you may Schedule a Live Meeting, Conference Call, or download the Live Meeting Console.
Choosing the Schedule a Live Meeting you get the following:
As shown above, you are able to input the details for your meeting such as all the presenters and attendees as well as defining the security of the meeting (Open, Closed or Anonymous) as you would in the Full Console. If you are running OCS R2 Audio Conferencing you can specify that the meeting is a PSTN meeting. If not you can input a third party audio conferencing provider. After you click Schedule the meeting invitations are sent out and you will receive an invite via email. You can then view and edit the meeting on the main screen of the Web Scheduler.
Overall the Web Scheduler is a very useful tool again if you need to support clients that don’t run Outlook. A couple of limitations of this scheduler is that if using OCS R2 Audio Conferencing, the scheduler doesn’t use a users’ default bridge ID and Passcode. It uses random ones for every meeting meaning the organizer needs to check the meeting invite prior to opening the bridge for their meeting when opening the bridge from a PSTN device. As well you apparently cannot customize the text in the meeting invite either. At least I haven’t found a way to do this yet ;-) If you do please let me know.