Real-time scheduling helps 8×8 power better video conferencing experiences

Real-time scheduling helps 8x8 power better videoconferencing experiences

Industry: Other

Language & Framework: Java

Product: Unified Calendar API, Enterprise Connect

Introducing 8×8

8×8 is a California-based leading provider of cloud communications solutions including enterprise voice, meetings and messaging.

In recent years, 8×8 acquired several companies in order to add to their offering of professional solutions. One such acquisition happened in October 2018 when they acquired Jitsi, from Atlassian. This open source video conferencing project then led to the creation of 8×8 Video Meetings.

8×8 Video Meetings offers a completely free (it doesn’t even require an account) video conferencing solution with HD video and audio, screen sharing, encryption, desktop sharing, remote control, mobile and meeting room support. As well as generally everything that modern businesses and remote workers expect from their meeting tools.

The Challenge

When meetings are added to people’s calendars the probabilities of someone not turning up are greatly diminished. This is what really differentiates meetings from calls that often interrupt and disturb someone’s day. A meeting is a negotiated time that is agreed upon because it is supposed to work for everyone that needs to attend, however these negotiations can often be time consuming and the back-and-forth needed to arrange them is frustratingly poor use of people’s time.

8×8 Video Meetings’ mission is to propose the best possible meeting experience to the users of their platform. In order to do this they wanted to allow meetings to be added automatically to the calendars of the organizers. The team at 8×8 are experts in UX and video but had no desire or time to also become calendar specialists. The complexity involved in integrating and maintaining connections with multiple calendar APIs was something they hoped an external provider would solve for them.

Handling meeting rooms represented another challenge. A meeting without a meeting room is a complicated affair – especially in an open space environment. Most businesses already allocate calendars to meeting rooms to allow them to be booked and the 8×8 Meetings team wanted to connect these calendars to offer a seamless booking experience – without forcing the organizer to juggle between people and rooms’ availabilities.

Finally, 8×8 Video Meetings wanted a solution that would answer any data security concern that their clients – from all across the world – might have. This is why they were looking for a HIPAA and GDPR compliant partner who took this matter seriously and had a view to add more security certifications going forward.

The team at 8×8 had been working with Cronofy before. As the project took off at 8×8 they naturally turned to Cronofy again to solve their calendar connectivity challenge and deliver integrated scheduling to their users.

Cronofy is HIPAA and GDPR compliant and recently SOC 2 attested.

The Solution

8×8 Video Meetings propose calendar sync as a feature to every new user who signs-up to use their video conferencing tool. No matter what calendar service they use they can connect their calendar to 8×8 Video Meetings and see all their commitments in one place.

The real-time calendar sync means that when a user books a meeting through the 8×8 Meetings applications, the meeting is automatically added to their calendars.

Here is what the authorization looks like when a user first creates an 8×8 Meetings account.

First the user is prompted to sync their calendar to their personal meeting space.

The user then selects which calendar service provider they are using.

A simple authorization and voilà, the calendar is connected and sync will happen in real-time.

The user is in absolute control and can revoke access or change the synced calendar from their admin controls.

According to Emil Ivov – Head of Product for Video Collaboration at 8×8 – the adoption rate of the calendar sync is high with a “substantial majority of users” choosing to sync their calendars.

But the integration doesn’t stop there. Most video conferences – especially in a business context, when more than two people are involved – require a meeting room to be booked. Ideally at the same time as when the meeting itself is being booked – to avoid needless admin burden.

8×8 Video Meetings team is leveraging Cronofy’s Enterprise Connect solution to do just that and plug into meeting rooms’ calendars. Enterprise Connect allows the IT team on the client’s side to authorize access to a subset of calendars on their domain. No manual or individual authorization is required and access is managed by the IT team.

This technology can also be used to manage other resources that have calendars assigned to them such as video conferencing equipment. When a user books a meeting they can add a free meeting room to the booking with a simple click, making the process much more efficient and saving precious time that could be better spent on less menial administrative tasks.

Finding a reliable partner like Cronofy has allowed our team to focus on solving video conferencing challenges without having to worry about solving calendaring and scheduling issues as well. The API documentation and integration support is first-class and helped us reach success rapidly

Emil Ivov, Head of Product, Video Collaboration | 8x8

The future of the collaboration between 8×8 and Cronofy is bright. Upcoming projects are planned to hand more of the scheduling flow over to Cronofy as 8×8 Video Meetings continue to embed great scheduling into their native interface.

No matter what calendar service provider you need to integrate your software with, Cronofy can help.

You can offer your users streamlined scheduling solutions that work with every major calendar provider in a fraction of the time.

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