Can I schedule a conference using my Outlook Calendar?

Can I I schedule a conference using my Outlook Calendar?
A: Absolutely! ZipDX makes is easy to schedule a conference using an electronic calendar like Outlook.

Outlook-Calendar-in-laptop3_thumb.jpgMost business people spend considerable time engaged with their email client and electronic calendar, so we thought it only sensible that they should be able to schedule a conference call quickly and easily, right from within Outlook.

Who Can Schedule a Conference?

Anyone registered with ZipDX who has been given “Organizer” rights can schedule a conference call. The email address you use in Outlook must be included in your ZipDX account.

In order to create a ZipDX conference from your Outlook calendar you must have a paid account with ZipDX. Need an account? Request a consultation!

Now here’s how it’s done!

New meeting button in Outlook

Scheduling The Conference

  • In Outlook go to the Calendar view.
  • Click on the New Meeting icon in the ribbon (pictured above.)
  • Setup the meeting as you would for any normal meeting.
    1. (1) Add the meeting participants To: the proposed meeting.
    2. (2) Give it an informative Subject.
    3. (3) Set the Start Date & Time.
    4. (4) Set the End Date & Time.
    5. (5) In the body of the message put whatever information would be helpful to the meeting participants.
    6. (6) Finally, add ZipDX to the meeting by inviting meeting@cal.zipdx.com to the meeting.
  • Send the meeting invitation to all participants.

Outlook Meeting Setup Example

Why It’s Important to Add ZipDX as a “Meeting Participant”

Adding ZipDX as a meeting participant is the magical part. It’s that part that makes Outlook and ZipDX work seamlessly together.

ZipDX receives the meeting invitation just like everyone else you invited. That message includes everything the system needs to schedule the conference call.

In the time it takes you to return to your inbox ZipDX has already scheduled the call.

If you were to log into the ZipDX web portal you’d see the new conference listed in your Pending Conferences.

What Do Participants Receive?

Each person invited to the conference receives two messages:

1. The first message is from you, the direct result of your meeting request. It contains the various details that you included when creating the meeting in your Outlook calendar.

2. The second email comes from ZipDX. This message is customized for each participant. It contains details for connecting to the conference by telephone.

It also contains a link allowing them to access the ZipDX web portal, which is how they would view any WebShare content.

Modifying The Conference

The meeting item in your Outlook calendar is effectively the master copy of the meeting details. If you need to modify the meeting, perhaps to reschedule, add or remove participants, this is accomplished by editing the meeting in your Outlook calendar.

When a change has been made to the meeting Outlook will prompt with respect to sending meeting updates. It’s critical that you allow Outlook to send meeting updates to all participants. This ensures that a meeting update is sent to ZipDX, so the system can make the necessary changes in the ZipDX conference.

Sending meeting updates to “everyone” ensures that ZipDX stays in sync with the meeting as it appears in your calendar.

Recurring Conferences

Within Outlook you can also setup recurring meetings. This is a meeting that happens repeatedly on a consistent schedule. It could be a weekly project meeting, a monthly staff meeting, or even a daily stand-up meeting.

When such a recurring meeting is setup, with ZipDX included as described above, the system will automatically schedule all of the conferences necessary to match the schedule created in Outlook.

Outlook-Recurring-Meeting-Settings

As before, if there’s any change in the meeting schedule you must ensure that Outlook sends updates to all participants. This will ensure that the conferences scheduled in ZipDX are always an exact match for the schedule you see in Outlook.

Note that it’s also possible to schedule a recurring conference via the ZipDX web portal. That approach inverts the flow of information, making ZipDX the source of meeting details, which get emailed to participants. The meeting invitations contain a calendar object (iCal) that allow the conferences to appear in their Outlook calendars.