Location Aware Calendaring for Zimbra

End-to-end design of a feature to simplify calendaring by adding location awareness to VMware's calendaring and email product, Zimbra.


Key Use Cases

Impromptu Meeting

Quickly book a meeting room at the closest available location.

Directions

Easily find a specific meeting room using a map.


Booking a Meeting

The instant meeting application is launched in 1 click from a user's smart phone. The system takes the user's current location, and books the nearest available conference room or meeting space.

"I could have used this app SOOOO many times when I'm at head office..."
- Corey T
"I would use something like this."
- Derek Y

Directions

The system can provide directions on a flat map. Alternatively, using the rear facing camera on the smart phone, the user can see walking directions right in their environment.

"Love the visuals! Makes it idiot proof for the directionally challenged! Could have really used this at my old job [...] It really is a "campus." So big!"
- Amber B

Location Algorithm

To find the user's current location an algorithm was designed that used the WiFi router/access point signal strengths in the building and the user's calendar information. The WiFi data created an initial approximation of the user's location. The approximation was augmented with a machine learning algorithm that trained the system with information from the user's calendar. The system continually compared the user's known location (from the calendar) to the system's approximation (from WiFi routers). In a prototype this method was accurate within 2.5 feet.


Results

The design was presented at a VMware internal innovation conference. It was so well received by the audience of 1500 engineers and company leadership that it won best idea presented in 2012. The idea has also been presented at several external conferences and is always well received.

Disclaimer: This was a forward-looking project at VMware, it came out of a side project, it may or may not become part of an actual product.