I have set up conference rooms as mailboxes in Outlook 2000, which is working well but I have a few questions:
- Currently, we have to schedule the room as a resource before the "automatically decline conflicting meeting requests" works. Do I have something configured incorrectly? If you invite the "room" as a required attendee, it can be double-booked.
- Is there a way to display a conference room's mailbox as a public folder that users can access to see room availability, who has booked the room, etc.? I would like to have this happen automatically and I would like it to have a real-time display.
- Later, I would like to set up resources as a group (e.g., for a video conference meeting between two of our sites, I would like the room for both sites, as well as the video conferencing equipment to be just two selections in Outlook—one for each site.)
As to #1, the answer is nope. That's the way it has to work. You must invite the resource as a resource, otherwise the automatic calendar processing doesn't happen and your meeting request will sit in the conference room's Inbox, unaccepted.
For #2, there's no easy way to display the conference rooms' mailbox as a public folder. You have a few options, though. If you give everybody at least Read permissions to that calendar, then they could File | Open | Open Another User's Folder that calendar anytime they wanted to and see it, real time, in their Outlook.
For #3, you can add your resources to a distribution list (that includes room, video equipment, etc.) and reserve the distribution list. The catch is that you'll need to expand the distribution list, which has the effect of adding each individual item as if you'd typed it separately. At least you'd be able to easily book all of the resources you need on each end just by typing two resource invitees.